Families Un-locked: New Study Exploring the Long-term Impacts of the Pandemic on Families and Relationships

The national lockdown in March 2020 saw our daily lives changed beyond recognition. Suddenly families, couples and individuals found themselves navigating new challenges within the confinement of their homes.  While many people managed these challenges with remarkable resilience, for others the high-pressure environment of lockdown created new tensions and aggravated existing issues within their lives.

The Families Un-locked research study, led by Dr Gabriela Misca at the University of Worcester, in partnership with Relate, is looking in depth at the medium- to long-term impact(s) of the COVID-19 pandemic on relationships and family life. The ultimate goal of the research is to help develop new ways to support people during the ‘new normal’ and any subsequent waves of the pandemic and other public health crises.

Researchers are particularly interested to hear from members of BAME communities, who are now understood to have been particularly affected by COVID-19; and also from the frontline key workers and their family members, such as medics, nurses and ambulance staff; social care staff including those in safeguarding and care for the elderly; as well as police and armed forces.

Dr Misca said: “A recent Relate practitioners’ survey offered a glimpse into the worries and stresses experienced by couples and families during the lockdown, with clients bringing into counselling more communication, mental health and parenting issues, than before lockdown. However, a more detailed and in-depth understanding of  the impacts of  the pandemic on families and relationships is needed, especially at a time when rules and restrictions have been relaxed and then re-imposed again as the population is bracing itself for subsequent wave of the coronavirus.”

Taking part will initially involve completing a 20 minute online anonymous survey, which can be found at: https://ucw.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/families-un-locked-2020-wave1