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Our goal is to determine how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting people’s relationships. We are living in a challenging moment, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting people and communities across the world. For many, this is a difficult and stressful period. Close personal relationships can be a great resource in these trying times, but the challenges faced can also put relationships under strain. Indeed, supportive relationships are linked with greater psychological and physical well-being and can act as a buffer to even life’s biggest stressors. At the same time, outside stressors can put pressure on even the most supportive, high-quality relationships, leading to more challenging relationship dynamics. We seek to assess how relationships, in addition to social factors and individual differences, influence people’s experiences during this stressful time (e.g., can these factors reduce social isolation and loneliness? What factors are most important in helping to buffer peoples well-being?).
A large body of prior research has shown that social isolation negatively impacts individuals health and wellbeing (see Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2003 for review), but another large body of work demonstrates that social support and close relationship are an important resource that aid people’s health and wellbeing, particularly in times of acute stress (see Cohen & Cohen, 2003). Yet, little research has examined with how people cope with stress, social isolation, and potential health threats simoltaneously and the role of relationships in our ability to cope. Thus, although the specific aims of the current study are multifaceted, we have two broad goals. First, we seek to explore factors that may buffer or exacerbate the negative impact of social isolation on people’s well-being (including good/bad communication, social support, division of household responsibilities). Second, we are also interested in examining who is most vulnerable and more resilient during these trying times.
To do so, we are including measures that will examine how people’s relationships, in addition to individual differences (e.g., attachment, personality, etc.), situational factors (e.g., quarantined, working from home, social isolation), and relational factors (e.g. responsiveness, self-expansion) influence people’s health and well-being over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak and how this can influence and at times buffer couples relationships over time.
To learn more about this project, see our website: https://loveinthetimeofcovid.me/
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