Strengthening Couple Functioning Promotes Resilience to COVID-19-Related Stressors Among Black Americans

Steven R.H. Beach, Man Kit Lei, Justin A. Lavner, Olutosin Adesogan, Sierra E. Carter, Allen W. Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in substantial hardship for Black Americans, leading to increased stress and mental health difficulties. We used longitudinal data from the Protecting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF) intervention study to test the hypothesis that improved couple functioning following ProSAAF participation would serve as a constructed resilience resource during the pandemic, buffering the impact of elevated pandemic-related stressors on change in depressive symptoms. We found that COVID- 19-related stress predicted change in depressive symptoms from prepandemic to during the pandemic, that ProSAAF predicted improved couple functioning, and that positive change in couple functioning buffered the impact of pandemic stressors on change in depressive symptoms. These effects resulted in a significant indirect buffering effect of ProSAAF on the association between COVID-19-related stress and change in depressive symptoms through its effects on change in couple functioning. The results suggest that relationship intervention may increase resilience to unanticipated community-wide stress and promote mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-506
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 13 2023


  • Black Americans
  • COVID-19
  • couple functioning
  • depression
  • resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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