Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington (SPH-B) doctoral student Xing (Nova) Yao of the Department of Health & Wellness Design received the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Student Award at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo held in Atlanta, GA. Her award-winning abstract is entitled “Gender disparities in housework-related stress during travel.”
Yao’s research interests include stress related to daily life, minority, tourism, ableism, and the gender power dynamics that may exist within these areas. During Yao’s study, co-authored by her mentor and Associate Chair of Strategic Initiatives Evan Jordan, 10 tourist couples completed a survey to assess their household responsibilities both at home and at an Airbnb. Each individual participant (20 total) then participated in a 60-minute in-depth interview to identify women’s and men’s experiences with housework and any related stress. Results showed that even though the couple was on vacation, nine female and seven male participants reported continuing to do housework at an Airbnb. Women did 52 percent of the housework with men doing 43 percent, citing they felt a “sense of responsibility” due to factors such as the homelike environment, family needs, inadequate available services, home amenities, and cost savings.
“I’m driven by a strong desire to uncover often overlooked health disparities, particularly those that emerge when viewed from a gender perspective,” shared Yao in a recent conversation. “Luckily, my passion dovetails with another avenue of my research—tourism, which in my research reflects and contrasts with daily life, offering a fresh perspective on the routines we often don’t question.”
Dr. Jordan adds, “This award is extremely well deserved. Ms. Yao is on her way to building a new and impactful body of research exploring the role of gender in stress and health in tourism spaces. Her research is thoughtful, rigorous, and is generating important knowledge about how the many health and wellness benefits of leisure travel may be distributed more equitably among diverse travelers.”
Yao also credits her co-author and fellow doctoral student Chenggang Hua, who on both a professional and personal level is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. Receiving this award is affirmation to Yao that she is on the right career path.
“Starting two and a half years ago—when Dr. Jordan guided me in writing my first paper in the field of health and tourism—into the present, I am deeply grateful for his professionalism, patience, and generous support,” she adds. “It has been instrumental in helping me overcome each challenge and realize every idea.”
Yao hopes that her career in academia can continue to test the boundaries of her research as well as form fulfilling and “symbiotic relationships with students through teaching.”
Read more about the incredible impact of SPH-B students locally and globally: go.iu.edu/48bx.