COVID’s silver lining: Thai families have grown closer

A survey in Thailand has found at least one silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic: many families say the crisis has brought them closer together.

Close-knit families have always been a pillar of traditional Thai culture. Nonetheless, with the advent of modern lifestyles and migration to big cities and towns, extended families living under the same roof are not as common as in the past. That change is similar to societal transformations in most industrialized countries.

However, since COVID-19 struck, Thai family members have been conversing to one another more often, according to a week-long survey of 1,143 people carried out by Suan Dusit University last month. Just over 63 percent said they had begun talking with family members every day since the advent of the pandemic, while over 18 percent said they are speaking two to three times a week.

Respondents said that this trend was beneficial. Over 67 percent mentioned how it brought them together, while more than 62 percent said that the chats strengthened ties and 61.5 percent found that it helped them solve problems. The respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer for the question.

Family members expressed various reasons for why they had not been talking as much before the pandemic. Over 56 percent cited lack of time or conflicting work schedules, 55 percent blamed it on different views and attitudes, while 47 percent put it down to disagreements. Respondents were allowed more than one answer to the question.

Asked who they turned to in times of trouble or crisis, 32 percent chose their spouse, while 21.5 percent confided in their friend and 18 percent preferred to seek advice from parents.