Have your say in the Families Un-locked international research study

Take part (complete a 20min survey) in an important study on the medium to long term impacts of the pandemic on relationships and family life.

Research carried out by Relationships Australia in May, for example, found that over 55% of people had been challenged by their living arrangements during the pandemic, and many had spent more time and effort maintaining their relationships. However, while some relationships had grown stronger, others had deteriorated. Loneliness was a significant issue for some 45% of people in the survey and this was often linked to relationship breakdown.

Additional research, conducted in July, explored Australians’ views and concerns about the relaxation of restrictions and the return to “normal”. Since then, we have witnessed subsequent waves of lockdowns and restrictions in response to recurring patterns of COVID-19 within the community.

Our work has provided a unique snapshot into the highs and lows of relationships and family life in lockdown. Now we’re seeking to understand the medium and long-term impact of the pandemic, here in Australia and overseas.

This is why Relationships Australia is proud to partner in an international long-term research study Families Un-locked: Relationships Emerging from COVID-19 into the “New Normal” led by Dr Gabriela Misca, an expert in child and family psychology at the University of Worcester in the United Kingdom, in partnership with Relate.  In collaboration with Griffith University researchers, the study is being now replicated in Australia and aims to understand these impacts across the two countries.

We’re delighted to be part of the team bringing this study to Australia, giving us a unique insight to different experiences across the world.

We’re calling on members of the public to take part in the study and share their experiences on how the pandemic has affected and continues to affect families and relationships across the Australia.

This is what Dr Misca has to say about the project:

“The Families Un-locked research study is looking in depth at the medium- to long-term impacts of the pandemic on relationships and family life. The study collects data through on-line surveys, repeated quarterly over the next years. The first survey, launched in the UK in August 2020, has now closed, and we are delighted to launch the study now in Australia in collaboration with colleagues from Griffith University. Due to the different approaches to dealing with the pandemic, the replication of the study in Australia provides a unique opportunity to compare the impact of the pandemic on relationships in different contexts. We are hoping to receive responses from large numbers of diverse groups of participants from each country, and to achieve this, the study is crucially supported by our key practice partners: Relationships Australia and Relate, who are both leading providers of relationship support in Australia and the UK, respectively.”

Over the next year, the research study will discover how people’s relationships are faring as initial lockdown restrictions continue to lift and we learn to live with the ongoing threat of the pandemic and the hope provided by the new treatments and effective vaccines becoming available.

The research will delve into the pandemic’s effects of home schooling, living in confined spaces, living apart from loved ones, changes to working patterns and increased unemployment, dealing with poor health and bereavement, managing anxiety, uncertainty, financial insecurity, tension and conflict.

We want to recruit a large number of participants from diverse backgrounds to take part in the study, including people who have worked and continue to work on the ‘frontline’ and their families, to understand how people from all walks of life have been impacted and how they are moving forward.

If any participants are affected by any of the issues mentioned in the survey and feel they need support, Relationships Australia can help you. Contact us in your preferred way here.

Relationships Australia has a long history of responding to societal change and this research will be vital for informing our services in these exceptional times.

Taking part will initially involve completing a 20 minute online survey.

Find out more about the Families Un-locked study and how you can take part.