Medication administration by caregiving youth: An inside look at how adolescents manage medications for family members

Margaret Nickels, Connie Siskowski, Cynthia N. Lebron, Julia Belkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Children take on the role of family caregiver throughout the world. No prior published research exists surrounding the particular circumstances of the task of medication administration and management by these youth, which was explored in this study. Methods: A series of focus groups were conducted using semi-structured interviews of 28 previously identified caregiving youth ages 12–19 years old who live in the United States. Data analysis followed guidelines of conventional content analysis. Results: The following categories emerged about youth caregivers handling medications: 1) tasks involve organizational and administrative responsibilities; 2) youth have varying degrees of knowledge pertaining to these medications; 3) most share responsibility with other family members; 4) they lack formal education about their responsibilities; 5) multiple challenges exist relating to this task; 6) managing medications is associated with emotional responses; and 7) possible safety issues exist. Conclusions: These responsibilities represent a unique hardship and merit support and research from the medical, healthcare, legislative, and public health communities, among others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Caregiver burden
  • Caregivers
  • Family caregivers
  • Medication management
  • Young carer
  • Youth caregiver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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