Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


There is a gap in the social welfare literature concerning the perspectives of low-income families about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives. This qualitative study contributes to the literature by exploring how families in poverty across Southern California survived the pandemic. Interviews were conducted with 10 heads of household (N = 10) to determine the impact of the pandemic and the strategies used to cope with the crisis. Thematic analysis of the data revealed five key themes: a) the devastating impact of the pandemic on low-income families, b) the use of various coping mechanisms by families, b) the narrow view of families’ support system, d) the importance of government assistance during the pandemic, and e) the importance of individual and environmental strategies for crisis survival. The findings from this study have major implications for poverty and social welfare stakeholders, including families, social workers, social service organizations, community leaders, and lawmakers at local, state, and national levels.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, families in poverty, thematic analysis, government programs, Resilience Theory, Strengths Perspective.

Included in

Social Work Commons