Supporting a friend, housemate or partner with mental health difficulties: the student experience

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Abstract

When experiencing mental health difficulties, university students turn to their friends for support. This study assessed the consequences of caregiving among a university sample, identifying predictors of caregiving burden among students. 79 students were recruited, through a UK student mental health charity, to complete an online survey. Using the Experience of Caregiving Inventory and the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire as measures of the consequences of caregiving, students supporting friends, housemates or partners, were found to experience significant consequences of caregiving. Frequency of face-to-face contact and duration of illness predicted more negative consequences of caregiving, but these relationships were not straightforward. The presence and intensity of professional support did not influence the experience of caregiving. The implications of these findings for supporting student carers is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 May 2017

Keywords

  • Caregivers
  • Peer support
  • Youth mental health
  • Students

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