Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

The effect of provisions on the mental health of young adult care leavers. A systematic review

Rice, E and O'Connor, S (2023) The effect of provisions on the mental health of young adult care leavers. A systematic review. Journal of Children's Services, 18 (2). pp. 81-103. ISSN 1746-6660

The effect of provisions on the mental health of care leavers A systematic review.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (617kB) | Preview


Purpose Care leavers are identified as a vulnerable group within UK society and, unsurprisingly, are more susceptible to mental health problems. Research highlights inadequacies among UK Government provisions combined with poorer outcomes for care leavers. This paper aims to measure the effectiveness of provisions on mental health when transitioning from the care system to adulthood. Design/methodology/approach A systematic review was conducted to identify and highlight the inadequacies of provisions in place to aid a care leaver’s transition and the effects on their mental health. Of the 211 studies identified from the search, six studies met the eligibility criteria and were deemed eligible by the researcher for further exploration of themes. Findings The findings identified feeling isolated, training given to care professionals and caregivers, collaboration, lack of preparation and support and access and gaps in provisions as the five key themes. The overarching theme of interconnectedness and interplay between subthemes, mental health and a care leaver’s transition, is strongly presented throughout. Many participants within the individual studies reported negative findings illustrating the weaknesses of provisions and the negative effect on their mental health. Furthermore, the findings emphasise the unique nature of everyone’s experience transitioning out of the care system. Research limitations/implications A limitation of the review is the selection of key words, which may have restricted the results produced during the main search, subsequently affecting the amount of relevant data extracted and synthesised. Finally, less emphasis on grey literature and more on empirical studies reduces the probability of discovering null or negative findings, therefore increasing the chances of publication bias (Paez, 2017). A small number of eligible studies increase the risk of not making important comparisons, prompting a wider search to be conducted in the future. An unequal ratio between national and international research in the systematic review restricts fresh perspectives and strategies concerning the mental health of care leavers. Practical implications Care leavers are identified as a vulnerable group within society and, unsurprisingly, are more susceptible to mental health problems. The UK Government enforces national and local policies to support young adults leaving the care system and transitioning to independence. However, previous research highlights inadequacies among provisions, combined with poorer mental health outcomes for care leavers. Social implications Following on from gaps in the current findings, an investigation into regional disparities across provisions aimed at assisting care leavers transitioning to independence would produce useful information for the field and policymakers. Although current research addresses the essence of interplay between mental health and transitioning, further research is required to help build a supporting argument for adaptations and improvements in policies and practice. Originality/value This study supports the argument for an increase in attention from the UK Government and policymakers to improve the quality and quantity of support for a population often underserved and marginalised, especially in terms of reducing poorer mental health outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1607 Social Work; 1701 Psychology
Subjects: J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: Emerald
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2023 13:13
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2023 13:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1108/jcs-02-2022-0010
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20348
View Item View Item