Traumas New and Old: A Two Paper Exploration of Co-Parenting Relationships and Heightened Racial Tension for Black, Latinx, and Asian Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The COVID-19 pandemic broadly impacted the human experience since it emerged on the scene in late 2019/early 2020 (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) 2020). Parents in the United States experienced a uniquely high level of stress related to childrearing through the pandemic and the social-political implications of pandemic-related societal decision making (Elder & Greene, 2021; Fortuna et al., 2020; Patrick et al., 2020). People of color experienced compounding stressors of the heightened racial tensions, which reached a boiling point with the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, on top of decades of inequities embedded within social systems (Buchanan et al., 2020; DePouw, 2017). This two-paper qualitative dissertation study interviewed fifteen parents of color with school-aged children who are in coparenting relationships to explore two independent but related experiences of pressures faced by parents of color during the COVID-19 pandemic and temporally associated heightened racial tensions. The first paper explores stressors on parents of color related to COVID-19 (e.g., remote learning, access to services, household management, changes extended social support, etc.) and the changes in and impact on coparenting relationships, with a focus on how coparenting relationships worked to buffer and/or aggravate parental stress levels. The second paper explores how parents of color experienced, coped with, and navigated parenting during the rise in societal racial stress in late 2019/early 2020 through fall of 2022 that spurred the uptick in the Black Lives Matter movement and the beginning of the Stop Asian Hate movement. A total of 15 parents of color participated in qualitative interviews. All data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Analyses revealed several salient themes that centered around coparenting, social support, and that illuminated the unique stressors experienced by parents of color. Implications for social work practice, policy, and research are discussed.
Dr. Susan Nakaoka