Elon faculty leading study of effects of COVID-19 outbreak on relationships, families

"Lockdown Labor: Examining the effects of time at home with loved ones" to delve into stay-at-home orders' impact on relationships and families as we juggle work life, home life and parenting in close quarters

With stay-at-home orders in place across much of America, schools closed, and many adults working from home, families are facing uncharted terrain together.

Two Elon faculty are conducting a study to find out the effects these added stressors are having on relationships and families.

Associate Professor of Sociology Alexis Franzese

Assistant Professor of Psychology CJ Fleming and Associate Professor of Sociology Alexis Franzese are using a survey to understand relationship and family functioning during the pandemic, with a focus on the way that couples and families are managing working from home, school closings and the emotional demands of the pandemic.

Fleming has a background in relationships between intimate partners. Franzese has studied familial relationships and structures.

Fleming pointed to previous studies around marriage and divorce rates in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, which left widespread damage across the Carolinas in 1989, and the Great Recession of 2007-09 as precursors to this study.“ Franzese is interested in the emotional labor, the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job, and the emotion work, management of feelings and expressions to conform to social norms, which is happening within the home during the pandemic.

“We’re exploring how people are navigating this in a time when there is no playbook,” Franzese said.

Assistant Professor of Psychology CJ Fleming

They hope to conduct the research through several rounds of surveys as stay-at-home and social distancing measures persist. Resampling earlier respondents will provide better data one how people are managing over time, Fleming said. For instance, parenting and work strategies may change if orders remain in place until May or after.

The pair are encouraging people to participate in the study and share it on social media for others. They are donating $1 to the United Way of Alamance County’s COVID-19 relief fund for each response up to $500.

You are able to participate in the study if:

  • You are an English-speaking adult who is at least 18 years old; and
  • You live at home with at least one other person who is either your significant other or your child.

The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete and can be done entirely online in one sitting. Respondents will be asked for email addresses so that Fleming and Franzese may reach them for a follow-up survey later, but those uncomfortable sharing their email address don’t have to.

To participate in the survey, follow this link: http://elon.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1RhBtDOKePOY4ip