Amsterdam Research Institute for Societal Innovation

Young carers

Research about young carers and the influence of care responsibilities on the life of students


A young carer can be defined as a person aged 5-25 whose life is affected by a disability or illness of someone in the family. The young carer may provide physical and/or emotional care but does not necessarily have to have specific care tasks. The illness the family member is suffering from may be of a physical or mental nature or can refer to an addiction.

Research undertaken in Amsterdam (with the close involvement of the AUAS), has revealed that about half of the youngsters between the ages of 12 and 25, grow up in a caring situation. These results have been the main reason for the AUAS to find out how many of their students are young carers.

The main objective of this research is to find out how many of the AUAS students can be considered a young carer, and to what extend their care responsibilities affect their life; in general and in their education in particular. Also the supporting possibilities from AUAS to these students are considered and to what extend support from AUAS is welcomed and needed by the students.

This research focuses on young carers aged 16 to 25 (because this is the age most students attending AUAS have). Because little is known about young student carers specifically, this study focuses on developing knowledge and, in a next stage, coming to a practice development.

First the research has been set out among the students attending courses within the Faculty of Social Work and Law. The first quantitative results of the Faculty of Social Work and Law have shown that there is a vast amount of young carers present and that these students are more likely to display truant behavior. Also an additional qualitative research among the students of the Faculty of Social Work and Law has shown that the young carers can feel burdened by the care they provide and that they would appreciate some support from the school.

Secondly the research has been extended to some students attending the Faculty of Health. A quantitative questionnaire has been distributed among the students attending the course Occupational Therapy. The final results containing the quantitative data of both faculties and the qualitative data will be posted on the website shortly.

It is our goal to expand the research to all faculties and eventually to more educational institutions. We believe young student carers are an underexposed population who need and deserve more attention and support.

Published by  ARISI 2 February 2017

Project Info

Start date 01 Jun 2016


Sanne ten Hoeve