Intergenerational impacts of discrimination against Nepali widows of reproductive age

Pamela J. Surkan, Megan Lydon, Abina Shrestha, Hari Maya Kafle, Lily Thapa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discrimination that affects young widows in Nepal may carry over to impact their children’s mental health and well-being. We collected data in 2012, including 40 in-depth interviews (with 34 women) and five focus groups with widows in the Kathmandu Valley, Surkhet, Chitwan and Kavre districts of Nepal as well as three key-informant interviews. Thematic content analysis was applied, using an iterative approach that used both deductive and inductive coding. From data collected through in-depth interviews with widows, we found that nearly all participating widows reported experiencing discrimination because of their marital status, while many stated that their children experienced discrimination for this reason. This, along with repercussions from the father’s death itself, impacted children’s mental health. Participants described how the discrimination they faced also indirectly affected their children, as many widows described an inability to support their children’s basic needs, e.g. provide adequate food and education for their children. Results suggest that dependent children of widows of reproductive age in Nepal are marginalized and face consequences of discrimination directly as well as indirectly through hardships imposed on their mothers. Social programs to combat social stigma and to foster support for such vulnerable children should be prioritized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Culture and Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


  • Child mental health
  • Nepal
  • discrimination
  • stigma
  • widows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Intergenerational impacts of discrimination against Nepali widows of reproductive age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this