Stephen Joseph Ph.D.

What Doesn't Kill Us

An Update on the Hidden Caregivers

Around 7 percent of young people have a significant caring role in the family.

Posted Jul 03, 2019

In a previous post I reported on the initial findings of our survey in collaboration with the BBC into the prevalence of caring by young people in England. I wrote that the full scientific report of our findings was yet to be published. I am pleased to now be able to write that the full report has now been published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development.

In summary, a national survey of 925 English young people was conducted using the 18‐item survey version of the Multidimensional Assessment of Caring Activities Checklist for Young Carers. Around 7 percent of young people were identified as doing at least a high amount of caring activity, and 3 percent a very high amount. Most frequently, caring by a young person is for a mother or a sibling with a physical disability. Caring activity consisted mostly of domestic activities, household management, and emotional care.

Our study provides the most up-to-date and methodologically sophisticated survey data on the prevalence of young caring in England. However, it is not without limitation and it is my hope that new researchers will follow in our footsteps to improve on our work and develop this important area of investigation to help us bring it to greater attention among politicians and public policy specialists.


Joseph, S., Kendall, C., Toher, D., Sempik, J., Holland, J., & Becker, S. (2019). Young carers in England: Findings from the 2018 BBC survey on the prevalence and nature of caring among young people. Child: care, health and development, 45(4), 606-612.