A Retrospective Study of Young Carers' Experiences of Supporting a Parent With Psychosis
There are a considerable number of children who fulfil a young carer role for a parent, sibling or relative. Research into the experiences of young carers is growing, and has explored the areas of supporting parents and siblings with physical and mental health difficulties. Although research into the experience of adult carers of individuals with psychosis-related difficulties is well established, the experience of young carers supporting a parent with a psychosis-related difficulty are yet to be studied. The aim of this study was to gain a richer understanding of the lived experience of young carers supporting a parent with a psychosis-related difficulty from a retrospective position. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven adults who were young carers for a parent with a psychosis-related difficulty. The interview transcripts were split into two parts and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Part one explored the experience of caring at the time, with two themes emerging from participant’s accounts: ‘Feeling isolated and alone’ and ‘Caring was taking the parent role’. Part two explored the integration of the experience into the current self, with two themes emerging: ‘Understanding the experience is an ongoing struggle’ and ‘Making sense of the person I have become’. The findings are discussed in light of the current research literature and show both areas of agreement and unique insights into the experiences of this particular group. Clinical implications in light of the findings and future research suggestions are also considered.