Family Risk and Resilience in the Context of Cascading COVID-19 Challenges: Commentary on the Special Issue

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14 Scopus citations


Articles comprising this special issue on parenting and family dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic document the profound disruptions to family life posed by a cascading multisystem catastrophe as well as the capacity of families for resilience. Results of these studies during the first year of the pandemic align well with theory and past evidence on developmental risk, vulnerability, and resilience in families contending with large-scale complex disasters, while also illustrating methodological advances, such as technologies for remote data collection. The scope and duration of the global pandemic pose extraordinary, cumulative, and variable challenges to family life, highlighting the importance of preexisting as well as unfolding adaptive capabilities embedded in multiple interacting systems. Findings illustrate the importance of relationships, the vulnerability of families already at risk, and the protective role of social support for parenting. This issue represents an exciting harbinger of knowledge to come on risk and resilience processes from multisystem, multidisciplinary, and multicultural studies of the pandemic and its effects. There are critical gaps to fill and many questions yet to answer when so many systems critical to human well-being and development are disrupted, and knowledge is needed to prepare and respond more effectively to inevitable disasters of the future. It will be essential to include more diverse and representative samples, methods amenable to dynamic modeling of change and systematic aggregation of findings across studies, and long-term assessments. This special issue reflects the progress, complexities, and promise of family-focused research on risk and resilience in the time of COVID-19

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1748-1754
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • COVID-19
  • family stress
  • multisystem
  • parenting
  • resilience

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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