In the United States, an estimated 1.4 million children and adolescents, age 18 and under, provide daily unpaid physical, emotional and supportive care to a chronically ill or disabled family member (NAC & UHF). While the phenomenon of caregiving performed by adult children and spouses has been extensively explored by nursing, little is known about how Young Adolescent Caregivers manage being a caregiver while they attend school and mature socially as an adolescent. The purpose of this Grounded Theory study was to identify and describe the basic social psychological problem shared by young adolescent caregivers girls, (N=9), aged 11-14, and the basic social processes used to manage the shared problem. Using the constant comparative method of data analysis, from audio taped and transcribed, semi-structured interviews were reviewed. The Basic Social Psychological Process (BSPP) identified was Managing Complexities. Muddling Through (BSP) was the process identified through constant comparison of the data to create categories. The phases of Muddling Through are: Becoming a Caregiver, Choosing Family, Creating Structure and Maintaining Balance. Young adolescents experienced becoming a caregiver through three paths: Embracing the Challenge, Sharing the Load and Being Assigned. Awareness of the consequences of being a Young Adolescent Caregiver and strategies used by Young Adolescent Caregivers to manage their changing complexities has implications for nursing interventions. Nurses in a variety of settings that treat persons with chronic illnesses can modify their practice to make significant supportive interventions with these largely invisible caregivers. Implications for policy change, nursing education and practice and future research are explored.
|Advisor:||Gordon, Shirley C.|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-B 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Social psychology, School counseling, Nursing, Developmental psychology, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Adolescents, Caregiving, Community health, Community health nursing, Grounded theory, School nursing, Young caregivers|
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