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Covid-19 and pathways to health inequities for families in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area of Sweden – qualitative analysis of home visitors’ observations
Karolinska institutet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8996-1972
Karolinska institutet.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4698-5135
Karolinska institutet.
Karolinska institutet.
2021 (English)In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 20, no 1, article id 215Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Lack of control over life situations is an important social determinant that may negatively affect parental and child health. This study took place in an area of Stockholm, Sweden with high indications of socioeconomic disadvantage, a large part of the population with foreign background, as well as higher levels of poor health than the county average. It investigated staff perceptions of pathways from situations of low control, potentially leading to health inequities, affecting families enrolled in an early childhood home visiting programme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Methods

Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 23 child health care nurses and parental advisors working in a home visiting programme. The data was analysed using Reflexive Thematic Analysis.

Results

The analysis resulted in five pathways on two explanatory levels, affecting parents’ health and parenting capacity and children’s health and well-being, potentially damaging health and leading to health inequities. The first four pathways related to control at the personal explanatory level: Families facing instability and insecurity; Caring for children in crowded and poor housing conditions; Experiencing restricted access to resources; and Parenting with limited social support. The fifth pathway, Living in a segregated society, covered the collective experience of lack of control on community level. The Covid-19 pandemic was observed to negatively affect all pathways and thus potentially aggravate health inequities for this population. The pandemic has also limited the delivery of home visits to the families which creates further barriers in families’ access to resources and increases isolation for parents with already limited social support.

Conclusions

The diversity of pathways connected to health inequities presented in this study highlights the importance of considering this variety of influences when designing interventions for socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. The additional negative consequences of Covid-19 indicate the need for sustainable preventive early childhood interventions for families in such areas. The study also emphasizes the need for further research as well as policy action on possible long-term effects of changing behaviours during the Covid-19 period on child health and health equity.

Trial registration

The study was retrospectively registered (11 August 2016) in the ISRCTN registry (ISRCTN11832097).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BMC , 2021. Vol. 20, no 1, article id 215
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-37998DOI: 10.1186/s12939-021-01556-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-37998DiVA, id: diva2:1639478
Available from: 2022-02-21 Created: 2022-02-21 Last updated: 2024-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Marttila, Anneli

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • Other locale
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