Expertise lab Young Informal Caregivers

Ten percent of young Dutch people is raised in a household with a parent or sibling who is chronically ill. They are expected to take up their (in)voluntary role as informal caregiver, and are therefore also known as ‘jonge mantelzorgers’ (young informal caregivers). Many of these young informal caregivers are still in school. So far, little is known about how their role of informal caregiver affects their education. On the one hand, it is very well possible that these young informal caregivers need to be relieved of their caregiving duties so that they can finish their education in an optimal manner as well as within the given time frame. On the other hand, it is also plausible that the role of informal caregiver greatly increases their sense of responsibility. 

The expertise lab ‘Young Informal Caregivers’ collaborates with care giving students on ideas for interventions that can assist them and increase their resilience regarding their care taking duties. Ultimately, they will be the ones who will call on supporting services (be it in an organizational, societal, material and/or digital way) to help them face the challenges of simultaneously following classes and giving care to a parent or sibling. The ultimate goal is to provide a level playing field for all students’ academic careers and to help shape an inclusive and meaningful society. 

Research will be carried out in conjunction with the ‘Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau’ (SCP), the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Vilans, the student-doctors of the University of Amsterdam and in collaboration with other organizations within the care and educational field. This way, new connections will emerge between the fields of care and education and we will gain new insights into the problems of students in urban areas. Additionally, we will be able to ascertain if the additional role of informal caregiver has a beneficial or detrimental effect on a students’ academic career. Because of the large consortium of participating organizations, the results of this study will be relevant for local and national stakeholders.

The Expertise Lab is part of a Startimpuls JOIN (Jongeren in een veerkrachtige samenleving) grant that was awarded by NWO under the umbrella of the ‘Nationale Wetenschapsagenda’.  

Litte is known about young people who have to combine their education with care duties for a parent or sibling, about who they are or what effects this double burden has on them. The factsheet ‘Gezondheid- en studieuitkomsten bij mantelzorgende studenten’ that came out recently, focuses on this demographic group and provides insights into the possible consequences this has for both their well-being as well as their education.

If you would like to know more about the study or if you would like to receive updates, please contact professor. Alice de Boer or Ingrid van Tienen.