Families with a team mindset strengthened their bonds during COVID-19 pandemic

Allen Barton
Allen Barton. Photo by Fred Zwicky.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Despite reports of families disintegrating under the hardships and constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study suggests that many families may have formed stronger bonds instead.

One key difference between families that emerged from the pandemic stronger and unified compared with those that struggled was having a cohesive, family-oriented mindset. Families in which individuals perceived themselves as members of a team who were working for their collective benefit and found personal fulfillment in meeting the wants and needs of the other members were more likely to improve their family’s well-being during the pandemic, the researchers found.

Published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the findings come from a nationwide survey of more than 590 people conducted in September 2022 that explored changes in family relationships during the pandemic and identified the factors associated with resilient families.

“Although many studies have examined resilience in individuals in the aftermath of the pandemic, our study is one of the first to investigate resilience at the family level,” said first author Allen W. Barton, a professor of human development and family studies and an Extension specialist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “Prior scholars have theorized about the importance of a cohesive family mindset for promoting resiliency when families face adversity, but empirical research investigating this idea has been almost nonexistent.”

Read the full story from the Illinois News Bureau.

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