Parenting in Precarity (PiP)

Parenting in Precarity explores parenthood and psychosocial health in the context of a precarious residential status, which (in)formal support services affected persons utilize, and what this means for nursing practice.


  • Lead school School of Health Professions
  • Institute Nursing
  • Research unit Field of Innovation – Psychosocial Health
  • Funding organisation Others
  • Duration (planned) 01.03.2023 - 31.05.2026
  • Project management Sabrina Laimbacher
  • Head of project Sabrina Laimbacher
  • Project staff Prof. Dr. Eva Soom Ammann
    Tabea Schmid
  • Keywords Parenthood, family, precarious residential status, psychosocial health, community health


More than one third of the Swiss population has a migration background. There are a broad array of legal residence permits for migrants. Some of them - or the absence of one of them – can cause particularly uncertain and precarious living conditions, such as the status of asylum seekers, ‹provisionally admitted› migrants, rejected asylum seekers or undocumented migrants. Many of those affected are parents and are thus responsible for minor children. Facing an uncertain residential status causes various contextual life challenges that impact the parental psychosocial health, interactions within the family system and other family members, especially children. While access to ‹formal› health care services often remain difficult for those with a precarious residential status, families, social networks, and communities take on the important role of providing ‹informal› support. Nurses can play a key role in supporting affected parents and their families. However, little is currently known about how people experience parenthood in the context of a precarious residential status. It remains unclear how this affects their psychosocial health and what support services they use to deal with their psychosocial and family health issues.

Course of action

Persons with a precarious residential status are expected to live under heterogeneous and vulnerable living conditions. Furthermore, they are considered to be very hard-to-reach as research participants. ‹Parenting in Precarity› uses a qualitative-explorative design, with an outreach-based, participatory research strategy. It is characterized by a high degree of flexibility and openness, which assists in gaining access to parents, families, and communities in their individual living contexts, and to invests in trust and relationship building. A two-phase study design is planned in the urban setting of Zurich: - Phase 1 - follows an interactionist ethnographic research approach with the flexible use of (participant) observation and ethnographic interviews (with affected parents). - Phase 2 - it is planned to participatorily develop implications, to further advance (nursing) health care services for affected parents and their families. This process will involve various experts in focus groups/workshops.


The study ‹Parenting in Precarity› will contribute to a deeper understanding regarding the lived experience of parenthood and psychosocial health in the context of a precarious residential status. Additionally, the informal/formal support services that affected persons use to deal with psychosocial and family health issues, will be explored. Based on this, knowledge can be generated on how access to and design of (nursing) health care and support services, could be optimized. This will enable the needs of affected parents and their families within their vulnerable living conditions, to be more thoroughly met.

Looking ahead

Further expected outcomes consist of developing new methodological approaches for Nursing Science, aiming to involve hard-to-reach persons living in vulnerable living contexts in research.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 3: Good health and well-being
  • 10: Reduced inequalities
  • 17: Partnerships for the goals