The Perceived Impact of Austerity on Young People of Colour's (YPOC) Psychological Wellbeing and Education in the UK

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Counselling Psychology

  • Authors:
  • Eleanor Reed


Background: Following the global financial panic of 2008, the UK experienced a crippling economic recession. In 2010, the government responded with a series of austerity cuts which appeared to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, including people of colour and young people. Given counselling psychology's call for systemic change, it is important that austerity is viewed as a matter of social justice. Despite some research exploring the interrelationship between austerity and race, little is known about YPOC's lived experiences of austerity. Aims: To explore how YPOC, experience the current socio-political climate and how they perceive austerity to impact on their psychological wellbeing and education. Methodology: A qualitative design was adopted to elicit ten YPOC's experiences of austerity. The majority of participants were in full time education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the transcripts were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Findings: Five predominant themes were identified within the data: Double disadvantage: austerity and racial discrimination; "The world as a dark place": psychological distress and austerity; Embedded resilience during (racialised) austerity; Unsafe community spaces and Austerity compounding deprivation. Conclusions: The findings illustrate how racial discrimination in conjunction with austerity acts as a double disadvantage, negatively impacting on YPOC's psychological wellbeing and education. YPOC continue to navigate their way through numerous adverse challenges at home, school and in the community during (racialised) austerity. Implications and recommendations for the field of counselling psychology relating to policy, research and training are discussed.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2020