Impact of COVID-19 symptoms on social aspects of life among female long haulers: A qualitative study

Res Sq [Preprint]. 2022 Feb doi: 10.21203/


Introduction: Persistent COVID-19 symptoms (long COVID) may bring numerous challenges to long haulers' social lives. Women may have to endure more profound impacts given their social roles and existing structural inequality. This study aims to explore the impacts of long COVID on various aspects of social life among female long haulers.

Methods: We conducted 15 semi-structured interviews with female long haulers in the United States purposely recruited from Facebook groups, Slack group, and organization websites. The interviews were audio recorded after appropriate consent and transcribed verbatim. Inductive approach was applied in thematic analysis, which consists of six stages: becoming familiar with data, developing initial codes, extracting themes, refining themes, labeling themes, and reporting. The MAXQDA software was used in data analysis.

Results: Participants reported persistent symptoms that negatively affected their social lives in many ways. The main impacts included physical limitation, financial hardship, social relationship, conflict of social roles, and social stigma. Negative effects of long COVID hindered female long haulers' recovery process. Social isolation, COVID-19 associated stigma, and conflicts of social roles cause tremendous stress. Employers' support and social media usage may play positive role in their coping with impacts of long COVID on their social life.

Conclusion: Existing policies and intervention programs need to be adapted to address the challenges and barriers that long haulers face in returning to normal social life, especially for females. Tailored social life-related recommendations and social support are needed for female long haulers.

Keywords: Long COVID; USA; log haulers; quantitative study; social aspects of life; women.

Publication types

  • Preprint