Faculty News

Stress in Couples During COVID-19

Couples living together are experiencing more stress during the COVID-19 pandemic than before, and researchers are examining how that will impact relationships once the stay-at-home orders end. 

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Amie Gordon, assistant professor in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, discusses her research on understanding how relationships are changing as a function of the pandemic and what the lasting impacts will be post-pandemic. 

Concurrent Stress in Couples During COVID-19 is a 6-month longitudinal study that examines how couples are coping, as countermeasures to the pandemic require people to stay in their homes. Surveys are completed multiple times over the 6 months to focus on current relationship quality and perceptions of how the relationships changes over time. Gordon is conducting the survey along with Esra Ascigil, a graduate student in the psychology department, and Anna Luerssen, associate professor at CUNY-Lehman College.

Gordon says the data already shows an increase in couples reporting that they are stressed since the pandemic began. 

“We suddenly have this potential pain point in which both partners are under stress, but they’re supposed to both be a support provider for their partner and at the same time they need to get support from their partner,” Gordon says. 

It is important to examine how this is affecting relationships, she adds, since economic hardships and health concerns are likely to remain the status quo for quite some time. 

Anyone who is cohabiting with a romantic partner in the US or Canada can take the survey online. The researchers will share initial results on the lab website later this month. Gordon says that people have voiced interest in seeing what others’ experiences are like and compare them to their own. 

“People want to know they are not alone,” she says, “so the goal of this is to provide some initial data of what we see happening in these samples.”

Learn more in this episode of the Michigan Minds podcast

You can download and subscribe to Michigan Minds from wherever you listen to podcasts: Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySoundCloudStitcher, and Spotify.