By Georgia Parsonson
In conjunction with Griffith University, the University of Worcester, and Relate UK, Relationships Australia has launched Phase 2 of Families Un-Locked — international research about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on families and relationships.
The researchers involved in the project continue to explore the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had upon society, families, and relationships.
The initial findings from Phase 1 indicate that the impact of COVID-19 is not only extensive, but also ongoing.
“Just as health research has discovered that some people are suffering from long-term physical effects of the virus — ‘long-Covid’, some initial findings of Families Un-locked show that the pandemic, lockdowns, and restrictions imposed will have enduring impacts on our relationships,” Nick Tebbey, the National Executive Officer of Relationships Australia, said.
More than 750 Australian residents participated in Phase 1 of Families Un-Locked. In the UK, over 900 people were involved — 45% of participants who identified themselves as part of a couple felt that lockdown put a strain on their relationship.
A quarter of those participants felt that concerns regarding the pandemic caused tension within their relationship and felt that financial matters resulting from the pandemic caused additional pressure within their relationship.
In contrast, the findings from Australia indicated that only 25% of participants felt that lockdown put a strain on their relationship, and 20% of participants felt that pandemic concerns caused tension in their relationship, but 33% of participants felt that financial concerns were an additional pressure.
Phase 1 also found that 1/3 of UK couples who participated felt that the lockdown had a negative impact on relationships that were already struggling, whereas Australian results indicated only 13% of Australian couples who participated shared this view.
The majority of parents in both the UK and Australia enjoyed the opportunity to spend quality time with their children. Still, findings in both countries indicated that 3/4 of participants were overwhelmed by childcare responsibilities and anxiety over their children’s education.
Results from Phase 1 also indicated that 36% of UK couples and 50% of Australian couples felt that lockdown was a positive experience for them. Such findings reflect the contrast in how both countries have responded to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phase 2 will further explore the medium to long-term impacts of COVID-19 on relationships and family lives and contribute to the development of new ways to help the public during future health crises.
Relationship Australia encourages everyone in Australia and the UK to participate in Phase 2 of Families Un-Locked.
Phase 1 results are presently being compiled. Research outcomes will be made available in the months ahead.
Phase 2 of Families Un-locked can be accessed here.