Young informal carers' information needs communicated online: professional and personal growth, finance, health and relationships

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Young informal carers (YICs) are non-professional young individuals providing care and support in various forms, usually to immediate family members, afflicted from a diverse range of both long- and short-term health conditions. Although there is significant knowledge about the information needs of adult carers in general, information needs and information seeking characteristics of the YICs community is understudied and are different. This study aims to identify the information needs of young informal carers communicated over the internet and understanding their information seeking characteristics through a three-stage qualitative content analysis of posts written by YICs on two notable internet forums. The analysis of 323 posts dated between March 2010 and April 2019 finds YICs needs are categorised by two types of online expression of needs, situational and information. Situational needs are illustrations of current difficult conditions and information needs are direct requests for information. Under situational and information needs, we identify four types of needs expressed: personal and professional growth, health (self and caree), finance and relationships. Additionally, the findings indicate 94.36% posts in the sample as situational needs, which depict the uncertainty experienced by YICs under caring circumstances. The findings can assist government organisations and charities by improving the indexing of advice pages of their websites appropriate to the young informal carers' search words, better availability of information and advertising, in addition to building quality mobile applications or digital support tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Information Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jul 2022


  • young informal carers
  • information needs
  • online
  • professional and personal growth
  • finance
  • health
  • relationships


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