Becoming a Caregiver: Experiences of Young Adults Moving into Family Caregiving Roles

Natalie D. Pope, Paula K. Baldwin, Allison Gibson, Kirsten Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


While the vast majority of family caregivers struggle to find balance between different roles in their lives, young adult caregivers are faced with the atypical challenge of caring for family member while simultaneously accomplishing developmental tasks typical of this stage in life (e.g., establishing career, developing romantic relationships). This exploratory, qualitative study examined strategies used by young adults to adopt family caregiving roles. These strategies can be described as embracement, compromise, and integration. While each approach allowed for the young adult to facilitate their caregiving role, additional research is needed to understand how the strategy affects the emerging adult’s development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Kirsten Smith was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH NIDA during the preparation of this manuscript. Natalie Pope received partial funding support from the University of Kentucky to conduct this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.


  • Caregiving role
  • Development
  • Role theory
  • Young adults
  • Young caregivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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