The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic brought uncertainty, anxiety, and stress into households; however, it also created an opportunity as many families, sequestered at home, found themselves spending much more time together. To support families and improve their ability to cope, recover, and build resilience amid the pandemic, Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) launched Families Tackling Tough Times Together (FT), a strength-based multi-week online program informed by scientific evidence about family resilience. Offered through a Facebook group, FT targeted parents or caregivers, children, youth, young adults, older adults, and helping professionals serving families. FT was designed to appeal to both military and civilian families, in part because both groups were experiencing similar challenges associated with the pandemic. This was not only an opportunity to bring civilian and military families together, but also for civilian families to learn from the experiences of military families in surmounting significant challenges. This article describes the development and implementation of the FT program, as well as lessons learned. Strategies highlighted in this article may be helpful to researchers or practitioners who wish to implement a rapid-response intervention aimed at building family resilience.


This is the author-accepted manuscript of Ruiz, Y, Wadsworth, SM, Elias, C, Marceau, K, Purcell, M, Redick, TS, Richards, EA, Schlesinger-Devlin, E. (2020). Ultra-rapid development and deployment of a family resilience program during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons learned from Families Tackling Tough Times Together." Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 6: S2, 35-43. Published by University of Toronto Press, the version of record is available at DOI: 10.3138/jmvfh-CO19-0013.


COVID-19, Facebook, Families Tackling Tough Times Together, family resilience, military families, military family, pandemic, resilience, resilience skills

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