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

Jardine, Cynthia | $319,148

British Columbia University of the Fraser Valley 2022 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, living in multigenerational households, 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. 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, how these impacts affect their families, and what resources and supports facilitated their ability to cope. Guided by an intersectional feminist framework and using a strength-based approach, we will examine the direct and indirect effects of COVID‑19 and levels of moral distress in South Asian mothers. Moral distress is defined as knowing the right action to take, but being constrained from taking it because of barriers beyond the individual’s control. We will conduct interviews with 20-30 South Asian mothers with dependent children and interviews with 10 community organizations. This research will be conducted in the Fraser Health Region of BC in collaboration with provincial knowledge users and community organization partners. Knowledge translation will include infographic reports of results, community workshops, sharing of stories of ‘surviving and thriving’ through a booklet and workshops, and workshops for service providers.

Avec un financement du Gouvernement du Canada

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