Developing health literacy in young carers
: a pilot project for the use of empowerment approaches

  • Maria Alexi

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    This study addresses the issues of health literacy, and carer health and wellbeing in Australia by fulfilling a commitment made to the Clinton-Global Initiative-University.

    There is limited Australian literature concerning health literacy among young carers, even though literature indicates that carers suffer low health and wellbeing. It is crucial young carers have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to maintain positive health and overcome the associated carer health challenges.

    This study attempts to bridge the current gap by developing and piloting an empowerment program with young carers between 10 and 15 years in two regional centres of the Northern Territory, Australia. This involved local allied-health practitioners, and was administered during the June/July 2009 semester break in both sites. The program consisted of five sessions and focused on maintaining good mental and emotional health, dietary health, dental health, and sexual and reproductive health.

    A pre-test/post-test quantitative and qualitative design included a questionnaire, focus group interviews, and participant observation. The questionnaire utilised within this study was developed by the candidate due to the absence of appropriate measurement tools. The triangulation of data provided the avenue to test the program’s efficacy in increasing health literacy from various data collection methods.

    This thesis includes ten chapters exploring informal care, health literacy, and the development and administration of intervention in an attempt to develop the highest attainable level of health literacy; critical health literacy.

    The outcomes of this study indicate that health literacy can be increased using empowerment approaches. A measurement tool and program which acknowledges health literacy from a social and empowerment perspective have been developed. The importance for further research about young carers and health literacy is also highlighted.
    Date of AwardOct 2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDeborah West (Supervisor) & Ruth Wallace (Supervisor)

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