‘APP’lying Supportive Movement: Trauma-Informed and Culturally Safe Physical Activity Programming for Young Pregnant and Parenting Women Marginalized by Poverty, Racism, and Trauma

Physical activity has been found to have numerous physical, emotional and psychological benefits, particularly for young pregnant/lone parenting women (YP/LP). Unfortunately, physical activity declines through adolescence, and women who are marginalized by poverty and racism have lower levels of leisure time. There is a lack of research on physical activity for YP/LP women who are marginalized by poverty, racism, and/or trauma, thus little is known about the barriers and facilitators for physical activity for this population. Physical activity is especially important for these women because they have a greater risk for obesity, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and PTSD.

My proposed mixed methods participatory research will focus on physical activity with YP/LP women who are marginalized by poverty, racism, and trauma – arguably some of the most marginalized women in Canada. My research has the following objectives:

  1. Assess current health and physical activity behaviours engaged in by YP/LP women.
  2. Understand the perceived barriers and benefits of physical activity for these women and establish strategies to support YP/LP in a culturally safe and trauma-informed manner.
  3. Assess if existing quality of life measures are relevant for this population and determine if there is a correlation between quality of live and physical activity levels for these women.
  4. Translate the knowledge gained to create a technologically-enabled approach to support/improve YP/LP well-being. 

This research will take place with partnering organizations on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside that serve pregnant and parenting women. I will work with participants to create and implement a technology-enabled health intervention that is culturally safe, age relevant, trauma-informed, and cost effective.