The Impact of COVID-19 on Family Relationships in Italy: Withdrawal on the Nuclear Family

Sara Mazzucchelli, Maria Letizia Bosoni, Letizia Medina


The health emergency linked to the spread of COVID-19 has profoundly transformed people’s lives, both from the point of view of family and significant relationships, and at work, substantially modifying the relationship between these two significant areas. This contribution is aimed at assessing how Italian families are facing the current situation in dealing with work and care responsibilities using data from a CAWI study done during Phase 1 of the emergency (full lockdown, from March to April 2020) that surveyed over 1,391 participants, 73% women, (Mage = 47; SD = 11.3). Findings from this study will contribute to a more thorough understanding of how people have reconciled work and care responsibilities during the lockdown, as well as their coping strategies. Findings from multivariate analysis have shown how health emergency and the related containment measures impact both personal/parental and work spheres, producing negative effects on the specific group of working parents, especially women. The 78% of respondents indicated that they continued to work mostly from home (62%) while simultaneously taking care of children. Moreover, married women and young people, and those without children, performed more effective coping strategies. Such results reveal the challenges of a nuclear family unit, wherein parents are separated from parental networks and time between family and work must be reconciled. Such problems are particularly challenging for women.


family; COVID-19; Italy

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ISSN 2239-8589 | Managing Editor: Debora Viviani | Editor in Chief: Paola Di Nicola