Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

Current Projects

Project Title:

Assessing inequalities in health, wellbeing, and social participation outcomes for young carers in the UK

Project Number:



Dr Rebecca Lacey, Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London (UCL)
Prof Anne McMunn, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, UCL

Start Date:

1st January 2022


The aim of this project is to investigate the long-term prospects of young carers across the UK in terms of health, wellbeing and social participation, and whether gender, socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities are present. This aim will be addressed using UK-wide longitudinal studies. These include the three Census-linked longitudinal studies – the ONS Longitudinal Study (ONS-LS), the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) and the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) – plus the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS). 

The project has three objectives: 

1. To explore the cross-sectional and longitudinal health effects of being a young carer in the UK; 

We plan to use NILS, SLS and ONS-LS to provide a UK picture of the health effects of being a young carer in the UK. These three datasets cannot be physically combined due to data sharing constraints. We will use the E-DataSHIELD method to combine estimates from each study. This method calls on an analysis computer in each studies’ research support unit. This analysis will be coordinated by the SLS support unit (the central analysis computer), who have previous experience of running such analyses. No data is transferred but summary statistics from each will be passed to the central computer and then returned to each support unit.    

For obj. 1 we will test associations between being a young carer (aged <25 years) and health status (self-rated health and presence of a limiting longstanding illness) cross-sectionally within the 2001 and 2011 samples. For the longitudinal analyses between care status in 2001 and health in 2011, we will account for health status in 2001 as well as sociodemographic characteristics. We will assess whether associations vary by hours of care provided. All associations will be tested using regression analyses. 

2. To identify whether being a young carer influences social participation; 

Again using the e-DataSHIELD method, we will assess whether being a young carer in 2001 is associated with living arrangements in 2011 (household composition and partnership status) and timing of births and marriages. Again we will assess whether associations vary by hours of care provided. Associations will be tested by regression methods (e.g. survival analyses or multinomial logistic regression) and adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics.  

3. To describe inequalities in the long-term outcomes of young carers 

For all analyses in obj 1 and 2 we will assess whether there are interactions between young carer status and socioeconomic position (eg head of household social class, housing tenure), gender and ethnicity.  


Tseliou F, Rosato M, Maguire A, Wright D, O’Reilly D. Variation of Caregiver Health and Mortality Risks by Age: A Census-Based Record Linkage Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2018;187(7):1401-1410. doi:10.1093/aje/kwx384

Cheesbrough S, Harding C, Webster H, Taylor -Kantar L, Aldridge J, Carers Y. The Lives of Young Carers in England.; 2016. Accessed January 26, 2021.

Brimblecombe N, Knapp M, King D, Stevens M, Cartagena Farias J. The high cost of unpaid care by young people:health and economic impacts of providing unpaid care. BMC Public Health. 2020;20(1):1115. doi:10.1186/s12889-020-09166-7

Robison O, Egan J. Young Carers in Glasgow: Health, Wellbeing, and Future Expectations.; 2017.

Lloyd K. Happiness and well-being of young carers: Extent, nature and correlates of caring among 10 and 11 year old school children. Acock Becker, Becker, Bibby, Cohen, Cree, Dearden, Dearden, Devine, Earley, Evason, Ferguson, Gallagher, Hicks, Holder, Joseph, Lloyd, Lloyd, Lloyd, Ravens-Sieberer, Sahoo, Warren, Warren B, ed. J Happiness Stud An Interdiscip Forum Subj Well-Being. 2013;14(1):67-80. doi:

Collins J, Bayless S. How caring for a parent affects the psychosocial development of the young. Nurs Child Young People. 2013;25(10):16-21. doi:

CarersTrust. Protecting Young Carers from Bullying.; 2016. Accessed March 4, 2021.

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