Journal Article

Grounding Constructions of Carers: Exploring the Experiences of Carers through a Grounded Approach

Michael Burton

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 3, pages 493-506
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Grounding Constructions of Carers: Exploring the Experiences of Carers through a Grounded Approach

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Social and political constructions of carers have been criticized for undervaluing the complexities of the experiences of carers. However, relatively little research has attempted to generate more meaningful constructions of carers by drawing these considerations together. The purpose of this article is to begin addressing this need. To accomplish this, the article is presented in two sections. First, an overview is provided on the current constructions of carers and suggested considerations for research. Second, with this overview as its context, a study, taken from the author’s academic dissertation, is presented. The study sets out to generate more meaningful constructions of the caring experience through a grounded approach. The findings are based on a focus group and interviews with fourteen carers in total. A diverse range of participants were involved, in order to generate categories that would hold more relevance across caring experiences. Four common categories for carers emerged, along with properties that explained differences in experiences. The categories of when carers start to care, circumstances change over time, justifying the use of support and using support are subsequently discussed in relation to current constructions, practice and policy.

Keywords: carers; grounded theory; political constructions; social care

Journal Article.  5821 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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