The Impact of COVID -19 on Family Relations: Implication for Ageing
The COVID -19 pandemic continues to affect the well-being of individuals and societies. Its associated lockdown and social distancing measures have further impacted family relations by distancing individuals from family and social networks. Using the symbolic interactionism theory as a framework, this study aimed to find out the effects of COVID -19 on family interactions (relationships). Thirty students from the University of Ghana were purposively selected for the study. Participants were asked to write about their experiences during the pandemic and its effects on family relations. Data were collected over a period of fourteen days. Thematic analysis was employed in generating themes based on the responses. Respondents reported both negative and positive effects. Reports on the negative effects included fear of contracting the virus (hence distancing themselves from family members), nose mask wearing which hampered communication (hence their messages being misunderstood and misinterpreted) and inability to visit and relate with extended family members. On the positive effects, it brought the nuclear family together and improved interactions among them. Implication for ageing in the COVID -19 era and beyond is discussed with reference to the family as an institution.