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Assessing the effects of COVID-19 on romantic relationships and the coping strategies partners use to manage the stress of a pandemic

APA Citation:

Jones, H. E., Yoon, D. B., Theiss, J. A., Austin, J. T., & Lee, L. E. (2021). Assessing the effects of COVID-19 on romantic relationships and the coping strategies partners use to manage the stress of a pandemic. Journal of Family Communication, 21(3), 152-166. https://doi.org/10.1080/15267431.2021.1927040

Abstract Created by REACH:

Through the lens of relational turbulence theory, this qualitative study examined the impact of COVID-19 on the relationships and coping mechanisms of 302 individuals in romantic partnerships. Participants’ responses to open-ended questions were coded individually, rather than dyadically (i.e., as couples). COVID-19 had both positive (e.g., greater intimacy) and negative (e.g., frequent conflict) effects on their relationships. The study also identified multiple coping strategies.

Focus:

Couples

Subject Affiliation:

Civilian

Population:

Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)

Methodology:

Cross-Sectional Study
Qualitative Study

Authors:

Jones, Hannah E., Yoon, Deborah B., Theiss, Jennifer A., Austin, Jorlanditha T., Lee, Lauren E.

Abstract:

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, romantic partners and families were forced to develop new routines under increasingly stressful circumstances. These conditions had the potential to introduce challenges in romantic relationships, exacerbate existing tensions, and called for the implementation of effective coping strategies. In this study, 151 dyads (302 individuals) from across the United States wrote narrative responses to open-ended questions about the effects of COVID-19 on their relationship and the coping behaviors they employed during the early months of the pandemic. Responses were subjected to thematic analysis to identify categories for each question. Four themes emerged reflecting effects on relationships and eight categories emerged describing the coping strategies used by participants. The results are discussed in terms of their alignment with the logic of relational turbulence theory and perspectives on communal coping, as well as the practical implications for helping couples manage stress during times of crisis.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

Department of Communication, Rutgers University, HEJ
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, DEY
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, JAT
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, JTA
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, LEL

Keywords:

COVID-19 pandemic, romatic relationships, coping strategies

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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