Effects of COVID‑19 on South Asian Mothers and Families in BC

Jardine, Cynthia | $0

British Columbia University of the Fraser Valley 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Women have been disproportionately affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic. Mothers in particular are simultaneously managing paid employment, household work, homeschooling and/or childcare. The impact has been particularly severe for South Asian mothers in Canada, who often experienced further stressors such as language barriers, caring for elderly relatives, and transnational economic and social responsibilities. South Asian women and their family members are often at higher risk for contracting COVID‑19 as they are more likely to work in employment sectors with greater exposure to the virus. They have also been more severely affected by job loss during the pandemic as they are over-represented in hard-hit industries such as food and accommodation services. Finally, South Asian women have faced increased racial prejudice, often being falsely blamed for the pandemic, (particularly as the Delta variant, initially inappropriately labelled the « Indian variant », quickly became a widespread variant of concern). To date there is limited knowledge on the health, psychosocial and socio-economic impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on mothers in Canadian South Asian communities, and how these impacts affect their families. We will examine South Asian mothers’ COVID‑19 experiences (including positive supports) and levels of moral distress using a longitudinal mixed method approach (interviews and questionnaires/surveys). Moral distress is defined as a phenomenon in which a person knows the right action to take, but is constrained from taking it because of barriers beyond their control. The experiences of South Asian mothers during the pandemic potentially contribute to cumulative moral distress. This research will be conducted in the Fraser Health Region of BC. Collaborations with provincial knowledge users and community organization partners will ensure their information needs are met and the resulting recommendations can be readily translated into changes in policy and practice.

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