Family and Marriage Paid Dividends During COVID-19 Lockdowns
NEW YORK, May 23 (C-Fam) The family hasn’t only been a place of conflict, stress, and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic as many media reports made it seem. In fact, the family was one of the safest places for people to be during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to University of Texas at Austin professor Mark Regnerus recent surveys on marriage wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic show that satisfaction and wellbeing within marriage have remained steady during lockdowns, with significant surveys reporting marriages being stronger despite the stress of the pandemic.
“When we hear negative remarks about marriage during COVID… We need to set it into context,” Regnerus said during a virtual UN event to commemorate the International Day of Families on Monday.
From the start of the pandemic the media reported on higher divorce rates, stress within marriage, and rampant domestic violence. More recently there have been reports of a birth dearth brought on by fear of having children during lockdowns. But that’s not the whole picture, according to Regnerus.
“Very little of the data I’m seeing is matching the narrative. What I see is that marriage pays dividends,” he said in reference to violence, mental health, anxiety, loneliness, and other indicators
The data shows that marriage contributes to spouse’s wellbeing and satisfaction “when people rely on their marriage,” Regnerus surmised. “It works when we put our heads together and say, hey, we are stuck together let’s get along!” he explained.
Regnerus also criticized the social science field for failing to collect and analyze data about marriage, especially when it comes to violence.
“It is obvious from the data I am familiar with that some relationships forms are more unstable and more prone to violence,” Regnerus emphasized. Regnerus’ research shows that children raised by single parents with multiple partners or who engage in relations of a homosexual nature are at a higher risk of being subjected to violence.
Regnerus also pointed out that in the United States 3 million young adults moved back with their parents or grandparents during the pandemic, significantly mitigating the negative effects of the widely reported sense of isolation and stress felt throughout society.
Sharifa Al-Emadi, Executive Director of the Doha International Family Institute, described the findings of surveys conducted in Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adolescents reported having greater emotional support from parents during the pandemic and increased involvement in their life.
The event was sponsored by the twenty-five UN member states of the UN Group of Friends of the Family together with the coalitions Civil Society for the Family and the UN Family Rights Caucus.
“It is important to promote research on the family and family policy and programs especially in post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Valentin Rybakov, the Ambassador of Belarus to the United Nations, on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Family.
“We truly believe that supporting the family is the first step in the advancement of society as a whole and a fundamental pillar of social development policy,” emphasized the Ambassador of Qatar, Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani.
Egypt’s Ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees highlighted Egypt’s domestic policies to help families, stressing that protection of the family was an obligation of the Egyptian government under its own constitution.
A representative of the Russian Federation said, “The pandemic made it obvious that States need to better implement their obligation to protect the family.”
Representatives Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh also made statements.