Document Type



Persistent COVID-19 symptoms (long COVID) may bring challenges to long haulers' social lives. Females may endure more profound impacts given their special social roles and existing structural inequality. This study explores the effects of long COVID on the social life of female long haulers. We conducted semi-structured interviews via Zoom between April and June 2021 with 15 female long haulers in the United States, purposely recruited from Facebook and Slack groups and organization websites related to long COVID. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim with consent. The interview data were managed using MAXQDA and examined by thematic analysis. Long COVID negatively affected female long haulers' social lives by causing physical limitations, economic issues, altered social relationships, social roles' conflicts, and social stigma. Long COVID prevented female long haulers' recovery process. Physical limitations altered their perceptions on body, and family-work conflicts caused tremendous stress. They also experienced internalized stigma and job insecurities. This study provides insights into challenges that COVID-19 female long haulers could face in their return to normal social life, underscoring the vulnerability of females affected by long COVID due to significant alterations in their social lives. Shifting to new methods of communication, especially social media, diminished the adverse effects of long COVID (e.g., social isolation).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).

APA Citation

Aghaei, A., Zhang, R., Taylor, S., Tam, C.-C., Yang, C.-H., Li, X., & Qiao, S. (2022). Social Life of Females with Persistent COVID-19 Symptoms: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(15), 9076.