Understanding resilience in carers: An online study.

This piece is written by Bethany Nicholson at King's College London, who is leading on a study to learn more about the different ways of thinking behind resilience and find new ways to support carer wellbeing. Find out more about the study here: bit.ly/carerstudy

More and more people are providing unpaid care for family, friends and neighbours. We think carers provide an invaluable resource, and deserve more recognition and support. More research is needed to understand carers’ experiences, and identify more ways to provide support.

We know that carers show resilience, as they live with long-term stress and adapt to challenging circumstances. We also know that providing this care can negatively affect carers’ own physical and mental wellbeing.

We are interested in learning more about the different mental processes driving this resilience. If we find a mental process is associated with resilience, we will have a better understanding of how resilience works. Future interventions may be able to target these mental processes to help increase resilience. If we find that carers with more resilience have greater wellbeing, this type of intervention may also improve wellbeing.

We hope to involve a wide variety of carers in the study. There is little to no research describing the resilience of carers of people affected by drugs, alcohol and gambling. Researchers have suggested carers of people with substance misuse problems may be a hidden or overlooked group of family carers, who can feel excluded from general carers’ support1. Research has also indicated that carers of people with comorbid substance use and mental health problems report more anxiety and worry than carers of those who do not use substances2. Altogether, this makes it feel particularly important to include carers of people affected by drugs, alcohol and gambling.

To find out more information, or take part in the study, visit: bit.ly/carerstudy.

Thanks to ADFAM for helping us to let people know about our work!

Bethany Nicholson

Trainee Clinical Psychologist

King’s College London


1Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J., & Cornes, M. (2015). Supportive practice with carers of people with substance misuse problems. Practice, 27(1), 51-65.

2Cleary, M., Hunt, G. E., Matheson, S., & Walter, G. (2008). The association between substance use and the needs of patients with psychiatric disorder, levels of anxiety, and caregiving burden. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 22(6), 375-385.

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