Family experiences of ambiguous loss during COVID‐19. By: Horton, Abagail L.; Russell, Beth S.; Tambling, Rachel R; Elias, Hannah and Mas, Madison. 2024. Family Relations. Vol. 73 Issue 1, p116-132.

Objective: The present study provides descriptive results on parents’ mental health, ambiguous loss, stress, and parent–child relationship as well as child stress and children’s emotion regulation abilities. Additionally, we present initial psychometric results and preliminary regression findings from a quantitative ambiguous loss measure. Background: The COVID‐19 pandemic hasled to more than one million deaths in the United States and subsequent mental health difficulties for parents and children. Method: Data were collected from 134 participants (MParentAge = 39.1 years; 54.5% women; MChildAge = 9.4 years) in early May 2021. Analyses examined group differences of longitudinal findings over a year‐long period, parents’ gender, and financial needs. Results: Moderate levels of COVID‐19–specific stress as well as general stress in both parents and children were found. Women reportedhigher levels of closeness among the parent–child dyad, and parents whose financial needs were not met reported significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression. A liner regression indicated that 44.3% of the variance in ambiguous loss can be explained by COVID‐19 specific stress and depression. Conclusion: Individuals and families are still experiencing difficulties after the COVID‐19 pandemic, as seen through the descriptives presented. Additionally, ambiguous loss can be predicted by these experiences.Implications: Long‐term information about individual and family experiences after a year of the COVID‐19 pandemic highlights important experiences of generalized stress in both parents and children.