Research Study of Family/Household Bubbles During COVID-19

Researchers at Mount Saint Vincent University are looking for immigrant participants for a study about social supports and family/household bubbles during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the message below from the research team:


The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us, and we would like to understand how various government policies have affected families—more specifically, whether or not they have helped families during this time. One policy was the NS government’s “immediate family bubble” that was implemented on May 15, 2020. This policy allowed one household to pair up with another household after two months of social distancing/household isolation.


We are inviting Nova Scotia parents/guardians with at least one child under the age of 12 to participate in the research study Nova Scotia Families with Young Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Social Support via Family/Household Bubbles”. Parents who paired up with another household after May 15, 2020 (and before June 15, which is when restrictions were loosened) will be interviewed about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown period in Nova Scotia, with a particular emphasis on their experiences of “bubbling” with another household. This timely and relevant research will help provide insight into the helpfulness of this policy and will help us understand better what types of social support are helpful for families in these kind of situations. The results of this study may potentially identify key areas of concern to guide future pandemic policies and formal support interventions, and the findings could be used to inform public health interventions in other jurisdictions.


We are looking to interview 15 to 20 parents, and we are seeking a diverse sample of parents. For example, we are particularly interested in reaching African Nova Scotian families. We are also very interested in talking with families who do not have family living nearby, such as recent immigrants. We would like to speak with families with low to moderate incomes. We are also interested in hearing from LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus) families.


Nova Scotian parents/guardians are eligible to participate if

  1. They have lived continuously in Nova Scotia since at least February 2020;
  2. During the time of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown (mid-March 2020), they had at least one child under the age of 12 who was living with them;
  3. From approximately March 15 to May 14, 2020, their family self isolated and did not interact with any other household(s) or individuals;
  4. Their household paired up with another household soon after the “immediate family bubble” policy was announced on May 15, 2020;
  5. They are comfortable being interviewed in English (interviews are carried out in English, but we do have an assistant who speaks Arabic and French and may be able to help out with translate if necessary); and
  6. They are willing to have their interview audio recorded.


The confidential interviews will be conducted at a distance (web-based technologies or phone), and each participant will receive a $50 gift card to either the Atlantic Superstore or Sobeys as a thank you for participating.


If you have any questions about the research or would like more information, please contact Dr. Áine Humble at or the Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre at


If you have questions about how this study is being conducted and wish to speak with someone who is not directly involved in the study, you may contact the Chair of the University Research Ethics Board (UREB), c/o MSVU Research and International Office, at (902) 457-6350 or via email at


We very much appreciate your assistance in reaching families. We hope that you and the families in your community are safe and in good health.



Dr. Áine Humble, Department of Family Studies and Gerontology

Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac, Department of Child and Youth Study/Faculty of Education

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M 2J6, Canada



This research study is funded by a Mount Saint Vincent Internal Research Grant and received ethics approval from the University Review Ethics Board on January 22, 2021.