Strengthening lower-income families: Lessons learned from policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Jeremy B. Kanter, Deadric T. Williams, Amy J. Rauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Families are navigating an unstable economy due to COVID-19. Financial stressors have the potential to strain intimate relationships and exacerbate prior inequities across lower-income families. Notably, the economic impact of COVID-19 disproportionately influenced Black and Latinx families. As a response to families' economic adversity during the pandemic, the federal government initiated the CARES Act. This type of federal response to lower-income families, however, is not new. The purpose of this paper is to contextualize and historicize previous and current efforts to mitigate the consequences of financial hardship on families by comparing the assumptions and efficacy of the Healthy Marriages Initiative and the CARES act. We conclude with four recommendations to promote well-being in lower-income families: (1) acknowledging and reducing inequities that disproportionally impact families racialized as Black or Latinx; (2) intervening to mitigate stressors surrounding families; (3) using innovative methods to deliver relationship education; and (4) considering prevention versus intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1402
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Process
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19
  • Iniciativa para Matrimonios Saludables
  • familias de bajos recursos
  • medidas adoptadas
  • tensión financiera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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