Identifying and Supporting Students with a Chronically Ill Family Member: A Mixed-Methods Study on the Perceived Competences and Role Views of Lecturers

Hinke M. van der Werf*, Wolter Paans, Anneke L. Francke, Petrie F. Roodbol, Marie Louise A. Luttik

*Corresponding author for this work

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Young adult caregivers experience reduced wellbeing when the combination of family care and an educational program becomes too demanding. We aim to clarify the role views, competences, and needs of lecturers regarding the identification and support of these students to prevent negative mental health consequences. A mixed-methods explanatory sequential design was used. We collected quantitative data using a survey of lecturers teaching in bachelor education programs in the Netherlands (n = 208) and then conducted in-depth interviews (n = 13). Descriptive statistics and deductive thematic analyses were performed. Most participants (70.2%) thought that supporting young adult caregivers was the responsibility of the educational institution, and 49% agreed that it was a responsibility of the lecturer, but only 66.8% indicated that they feel competent to do so. However, 45.2% indicated that they needed more training and expertise to identify and support these students. All interviewees felt responsible for their students' wellbeing but highlighted a lack of clarity regarding their role fulfillment. In practice, their ability to identify and support these students depended on their available time and level of expertise. The lecturers required agreements on responsibility and procedures for further referral, as well as information on support and referral opportunities, communication skills courses, and peer-to-peer coaching.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4978
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11-Mar-2023


  • higher education
  • identifying
  • lecturers
  • students
  • support
  • young carers

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