Young Adults Experiences of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Perceived Relationship Effects

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Carissa Gauthier


The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for many and has brought changes that created romantic relationship challenges. We were halfway through a trial of a relationship education workshop when the pandemic began, and we asked young adult participants how COVID-19 affected their romantic relationships. Participants completed questionnaires before (n = 85) and after the two-week workshop (n = 69) and three (n = 71) and six months later (n = 72). Participants averaged 22.7 years of age, most were female (83.5%) and fewer than half were White (43.5%). A thematic analysis (Braun & Clark, 2012) will be completed by the time of the conference. Results thus far indicate that participants identified changes in time together (22%), relationship changes (16%), and activity changes (12%) as a result of the pandemic. Specifically, participants said they had more quality time with their partner, “It has been nice to spend the pandemic with my partner. We have been supporting each other…and keeping each other company.” Relationship changes were also common, “The pandemic may have pulled us apart physically, but emotionally we've grown much closer.” Although less common, participants also experienced changes in activities, “Since we both go to school online, we got to do a lot of cooking together or find hobbies that we can enjoy together and it has been good for our relationship.” Thus, although the pandemic was stressful for people and their relationship, they reported unexpected benefits that may have ultimately fostered a sense of closeness and support with their partner.

Faculty Supervisor:
Dr. Rebecca Cobb, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University

Reseach Team Members:
Kaelin Toth, Dylan Murray, Simon Fraser University


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Matters of the Heart