The Mighty Survey: Coronavirus Is Taking a Toll on Family Ties

Mike Porath
·4 mins read
Family in protective medical masks. Dad, mom, son and daughter together do not spread the viral infection
Family in protective medical masks. Dad, mom, son and daughter together do not spread the viral infection

Family relationships of all kinds are showing increasing signs of strain as the nation confronts the coronavirus with continued — and in some regions heightened — calls for physical distancing and isolation.

For the fifth consecutive week, The Mighty checked in with its audience, the largest healthcare community in the world, to measure the mood. We ran a survey from April 6 to April 9, and thousands of members of our community spent 10 minutes expressing their fears, needs and hopes.

Not surprisingly, 81% of respondents picked 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5 to describe the extent to which the pandemic has impacted their daily lives. On the same scale, 87% ranked themselves at a level 4 or 5 in terms of adherence to social distancing. Said one Mighty member:

“Living in fear is exhausting! Since I need help from caregivers, I am dependent on how well they social distance. I feel helpless a lot.”

Related:What the Psych Ward Taught Me About Fighting the Coronavirus

The toll on relationships is clearly top of mind for many survey respondents. In our poll last week, 31% replied that their personal relationships have become more strained. In this week’s poll, that number rose to 40%. Conversely, 28% said in this week’s survey that their relationships have become stronger, down from 35% last week.

Top 3 reasons relationships have become more strained:

  • Inability to see loved ones I don’t live with (70%)

  • Inability to go outside or being confined to my home (53%)

  • Disagreements over importance of safety precautions and level of social distancing (50%).

Women are expressing concerns that isolation is facilitating and exacerbating physical and emotional abuse from their spouse. And couples going through divorce are finding themselves stuck inside with each other. Two respondents told us this:

“My husband and I started the process of separating then were forced to quarantine together”

“It has made my already alcoholic husband a hundred times worse”

Related:Please Don't Compare My Chronic Illness Life to Your COVID-19 Life

People continue to say that their medical conditions have worsened over time. Twenty-four percent said their condition had worsened, up from 11% during the week of March 16.

“This is REALLY HARD on people with chronic illness. We already have it tough, but without access to testing, doctors, and procedures, we’re suffering. And I’m SO ANGRY that many of us can’t even get our medications to keep us from getting flares. How ironic that social distancing is supposed to keep us healthy, especially protecting the vulnerable, but the vulnerable are suffering terribly.”

Individuals facing these pressures are clear about what would help them:

  • 31% want better access to telehealth

  • 20% are calling for insurance companies to relax policies

  • 19% says pharmacy delivery need to improve

The coronavirus is unique in that it impacts all of us, whether we’re at risk or not. We will continue to survey our members over the next weeks and months to measure their mood, needs and the broad ramifications of this deadly virus.

Related:Finding Parallels Between the Crisis Phase in Fighting Cancer and COVID-19

For more information from The Mighty, check out our coronavirus topic page, where you can find new stories and daily thoughts and comments from our members.

Methodology

  • 10-minute survey around awareness, perceptions, and experience with the coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Total of 4,085 global respondents

  • Fielded from April 6, 2020 – April 9, 2020

Need resources? Here are related articles about the coronavirus (COVID-19):

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new-in-humans coronavirus that causes respiratory infection. The virus’s most common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. Other symptoms may include a loss of smell and taste or digestive issues. The coronavirus is highly contagious and is believed to spread to at least two people for every one person infected. Because it can take days for symptoms to appear, people can spread COVID-19 before they know they’re contagious.

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