COVID-19–related stressors, family functioning and mental health in Canada: Test of indirect effects
Alberton, Amy M.
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Mohanty, J., Chokkanathan, S., & Alberton, A. M. (2022). COVID-19–related stressors, family functioning and mental health in Canada: Test of indirect effects. Family Relations, 71(2), 445–462. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12635
Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine how family relationships relate to stress and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic response in Ontario, Canada. Background: Generally, families are pillars of strength during times of stress and burden. However, enduring stressors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may challenge the cohesion and caregiving functions of families. Researchers are just beginning to explore stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, family functioning, and mental health in the general population. Rooted in stress process theory, the current study dis-entangles the complex pathways through which COVID-19-pandemic–related stressors and family cohesion and family conflict are associated with the mental health of the general population in Ontario, Canada. Method: Data were collected using an online survey from April 22, 2020, to May 22, 2020. Through convenience sampling, 933 individuals were recruited from the general population in Ontario, Canada. Results: Findings suggest that COVID-19-pandemic–related stressors are associated with anxiety directly and indirectly through eroding family cohesion and exacerbating family conflicts. Conclusion: By looking into family cohesion and family conflicts simultaneously, this investigation has taken a nuanced approach to studying the influence of COVID-19-pandemic–related stressors on family functioning. Implications: These findings suggest that efforts to assist families in bolstering cohesiveness may be helpful. Further, diminishing family conflicts, especially during com-munity or global disasters, such as epidemics, pandemics, or natural disasters, should be a focus in both practice and future research.
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