Due to the focus of studies about caregiving responsibilities on older caregivers, there has been a deficit of research on young caregivers. We aimed to investigate the association between caregiving and health/mortality risk in young caregivers when compared with their non-caregiving peers and older caregivers. A census-based record linkage was implemented linking all residents enumerated in the 2011 Northern Ireland Census with subsequently registered deaths data, until the end of 2015. Among those aged 5–24 years at the 2011 Census, approximately 4.5% (19,621) of the cohort reported that they were caregivers. The presence of a chronic physical (mobility difficulties) and/or mental health condition was measured through the Census; all-cause mortality was assessed by official mortality records. Young caregivers were less likely than their non-caregiving peers to report chronic mobility problems (ORadj = 0.81 95% CI: 0.84, 0.96), but more likely to report chronic poor mental health (ORadj = 1.44 95% CI: 1.31, 1.58). They also differ from older caregivers (P < 0.001) and are at significantly higher mortality risk than their peers (HRadj = 1.54 95% CI: 1.10, 2.14). A dose response relationship between hours devoted to caregiving duties and mortality risk was evident. Young caregivers are at significantly increased risk of poor health outcomes.
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- School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences - Belfast Association for the Blind Lecturer in Ophthalmic Data Science
- Centre for Public Health