How Does Covid-19 Pandemic Affect Family Climate? Findings from Germany

Anne-Kristin Kuhnt , University of Rostock
Sandra Krapf , Federal Institute for Population Research

The restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic had various impacts on family life. Home offices, child care tasks, and more time to spend with family members were some of the consequences directly related to the family sphere. But how do these changes in family life affect the perceived quality of family life (family climate)? And do these changes depend on home office arrangements and the childcare situation? This paper aims to improve our understanding of factors that help families cope with the pandemic by analyzing the COVID-19-release of the German Family Panel (pairfam). We analyse two dimensions of the family climate: (a) how stressful and (b) how relaxed family life was during the pandemic lockdown compared to the situation before. Our findings show that 27% of the families in our sample (N = 849) reported that their family life was more relaxed during than before the pandemic. At the same time, 27% reported that their family life was less relaxed than before. With regard to stress within the family, 50% of the families experience more stress, 12% report lower stress levels. In our multinomial logistic regression models, we find that home office and ongoing external childcare contribute to an improved family climate. Respondents who did not have home office options and those who had to take on childcare tasks at home were less likely to report lower stress levels and more relaxed family lives. The findings highlight the role of work and care arrangements in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 Presented in Session 28. Flash Session: Covid and the Family