A Phenomenological Study on the Lives of Low-Income Working Mothers During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Noor Najwa Baharuddin IIUM and UMT
  • Ruhaya Hussin
  • Nor Azlin Tajuddin


low-income working mothers, descriptive phenomenology, psychological health, work-family conflict, coping


This study explores the lived experience of low-income (B40) working mothers in Klang Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic. It sheds light on their mental health struggles and unexpected silver linings. Eight participants were selected through purposive and snowball sampling. A seven-day diary-writing exercise followed by individual interviews was conducted. Data analysis is based on descriptive phenomenology, allowing in-depth exploration of participants' experiences. Three main themes emerged from the analysis: (1) Multitasking is too taxing, highlighting the intensified role conflict faced by some mothers; (2) Struggling to regulate emotions, revealing the guilt and emotional challenges these mothers experienced as they juggled multiple roles; and (3) The upside of COVID-19, demonstrating how some participants found unexpected benefits in increased family bonding during lockdowns. In sum, low-income working mothers faced significant mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by their unique circumstances. The findings underscore the importance of recognising their struggles and the need for interventions that promote their mental well-being. Additionally, providing training in emotional resilience and self-regulation could prove beneficial. This study contributes to the understanding of the nuanced experiences of low-income working mothers and calls for continued attention to their mental health needs, particularly in times of crisis.




How to Cite

Baharuddin, N. N., Hussin, R., & Tajuddin, N. A. (2023). A Phenomenological Study on the Lives of Low-Income Working Mothers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. IIUM JOURNAL OF HUMAN SCIENCES, 5(2), 1–15. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/irkh/index.php/ijohs/article/view/304