Family Science in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Solutions and New Directions

Rebecca L. Brock, Lauren M. Laifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has precipitated substantial global disruption and will continue to pose major challenges. In recognition of the challenges currently faced by family scientists, we share our perspectives about conducting family research in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two primary issues we address in this article. First, we present a range of potential solutions to challenges in research, resulting from the pandemic, and discuss strategies for preserving ongoing research efforts. We discuss approaches to scaling back existing protocols, share ideas for adapting laboratory-based measures for online administration (e.g., using video chat platforms), and suggest strategies for addressing missing data and reduced sample size due to lower participation rates and funding restrictions. We also discuss the importance of measuring COVID-19 relevant factors to use as controls or explore as moderators of primary hypotheses. Second, we discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic represents a scientifically important context for understanding how families adjust and adapt to change and adversity. Increased stress precipitated by the pandemic, varying from acute stress associated with job loss to more chronic and enduring stress, will undoubtedly take a toll. We discuss ways that family scientists can contribute to pandemic-related research to promote optimal family functioning and protect the health of family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1017
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Adversity
  • COVID-19
  • Family Science
  • Pandemic
  • Research
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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