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“We could just be what we wanted to be”: The role of leisure and recreation in supporting women's mental health during COVID-19

  • Author / Creator
    Ray, Lauren A
  • Women’s mental health has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 (C19) pandemic. Women have experienced higher rates of unemployment, domestic violence, caregiving responsibilities, and reduced access to social supports due to public health measures related to C19. It is well established that leisure and recreation can support mental health, yet, the role of leisure and recreation in supporting women’s mental health during C19 is relatively unknown. In partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association-Yukon, the purpose of this community-based study was to understand how leisure and recreation might support women’s mental health in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory during C19. Twelve self-identifying women between the ages of 22-65 years participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. A participatory data analysis approach was employed and the findings are represented by five themes: (a) focus on yourself, (b) facilitating feel-good emotions, (c) connection and support networks, (d) navigating the northern context, and (e) women-identified opportunities. Results from this study suggest leisure and recreation offer various processes that assist women with managing stressful situations that in turn support their mental health. These processes include promoting self-determination, generating positive emotions, and strengthening connectedness. This research presents women-identified barriers and solutions to participating in leisure and recreation in northern Canada, mapping out actionable steps to further support women’s mental health in northern contexts.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-t224-p379
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.