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Does providing informal care in young adulthood impact educational attainment and employment in the UK?

Xue, Baowen; Lacey, Rebecca; Di Gessa, Giorgio; McMunn, Anne; (2023) Does providing informal care in young adulthood impact educational attainment and employment in the UK? Advances in Life Course Research , 56 , Article 100549. 10.1016/j.alcr.2023.100549. Green open access

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Abstract

Most research on the effects of caring has focused on older spouses or working-age carers providing care for older people, but providing care in early adulthood may have longer-term consequences, given the importance of this life stage for educational and employment transitions. This study aims to investigate the impact of informal care in early adulthood on educational attainment and employment in the UK and to test whether these associations differ by gender or socio-economic circumstances. Data are from young adults (age 16–29 at first interview, n = 27,209) in the UK Household Longitudinal Study wave 1 (2009/11) to wave 10 (2018/2020). Carers are those who provide informal care either inside or outside the household. We also considered six additional aspects of caring, including weekly hours spent caring, number of people cared for, relationship to care recipient, place of care, age at which caring is first observed, and duration of care. Cox regression was used to analyse the association between caring and educational qualifications and employment transitions. We found that young adult carers were less likely to obtain a university degree and enter employment compared to young adults who did not provide care. In terms of care characteristics, weekly hours spent caring were negatively associated with the likelihood of obtaining a university degree qualification and being employed. Providing care after full-time education age negatively influenced employment entry, but having a university degree buffered the negative influence of providing care on entering employment. The influence on unemployment may be stronger for female carers than for male carers. Our results highlight the importance of supporting the needs of young adults who are providing informal care while making key life course transitions.

Type: Article
Title: Does providing informal care in young adulthood impact educational attainment and employment in the UK?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.alcr.2023.100549
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2023.100549
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Informal care, Young adult carers, Education, Employment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169418
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