Life Interrupted: Family Routines Buffer Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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DOI: 10.1007/s10826-021-02063-6; PMCID: PMC8360776


Adoption of certain behavioral and social routines that organize and structure the home environment may help families navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current cross-sectional study aimed to assess family routines prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic and examine associations with individual and family well-being. Using a national sample, 300 caregivers of children ages 6-18 were surveyed using Amazon Mechanical Turk platform during the first three months of COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Caregivers reported on family demographics, COVID-19-related stress, engagement in family routines (prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic), stress mindset, self-efficacy, and family resiliency. Overall, families reported engaging in fewer routines during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to prior to the pandemic. COVID-19-related stress was highest in low-income families, families of healthcare workers, and among caregivers who had experienced the COVID-19 virus. Moreover, COVID-19-related stress was negatively related to self-efficacy, positively related to an enhancing stress mindset, and negatively related to family resilience. Engagement in family routines buffered relations between COVID-19-related stress and family resilience, such that COVID-19-related stress was not associated with lower family resilience among families that engaged in high levels of family routines. Results suggest that family routines were challenging to maintain in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but were associated with better individual and family well-being during this period of acute health, economic, and social stress.

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J Child Fam Stud



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COVID-19; Family; Resilience; Routines; Stress; Stress mindset

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