Change in Financial Stress and Relational Wellbeing During COVID-19: Exacerbating and Alleviating Influences


financial stress, COVID-19, relational wellbeing, family adjustment and adaptation response, family finance


Guided by the family adjustment and adaptation response (FAAR) model and using a panel survey of 1510 adults in the US administered during the summer of 2020 and a mixed methods approach, we explored associations between changes in financial stress related to COVID-19 and relational wellbeing. Regression analyses showed that, compared to those who maintained their levels of financial stress, those who reported increased financial stress reported increased conflict and those who reported decreased financial stress reported decreased conflict. However, decreased financial stress was also associated with decreases in emotional closeness and relationship happiness, suggesting that changes in financial stress can lead to both maladaptation and bonadaptation in families. Qualitative findings provide insights into factors that may exacerbate or help alleviate financial stress related to COVID-19.

Original Publication Citation

Kelley, H. H., Lee, Y., LeBaron-Black, A. B., Dollahite, D. C., James, S., Marks, L. D., & *Hall, T. (2022). Change in financial stress and relational wellbeing during COVID-19: Exacerbating and alleviating influences. Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Family and Economic Issues




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor