Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

Applying relationship science to evaluate how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact couples' relationships.

Authors
  • Pietromonaco, Paula R1
  • Overall, Nickola C2
  • 1 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • 2 School of Psychology, University of Auckland.
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American psychologist
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
76
Issue
3
Pages
438–450
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/amp0000714
PMID: 32700937
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has profoundly altered people's daily lives and created multiple societal challenges. One important challenge of this unique stressor is maintaining well-functioning intimate relationships, which are inextricably tied to emotional and physical health. Yet research on romantic relationships shows that external stressors such as economic hardship, demanding jobs, and disasters can threaten the quality and stability of couples' relationships. Research within relationship science investigating how external stressors and existing vulnerabilities shape couple functioning can inform predictions about how the current pandemic will impact couples' relationships and which couples in which contexts may be most at risk for adverse relationship consequences. Drawing on theory and research from relationship science, the presented conceptual framework, adapted from the vulnerability-stress-adaptation model (Karney & Bradbury, 1995), suggests that facing COVID-19-related external stress is likely to increase harmful dyadic processes (e.g., hostility, withdrawal, less responsive support), which will undermine couples' relationship quality. These harmful effects are likely to be exacerbated by the broader preexisting context in which couples' relationships are situated (e.g., social class, minority status, age), and their individual vulnerabilities (e.g., attachment insecurity, depression). The framework presented identifies the essential factors that need to be addressed in order to mitigate the potential adverse effects of the current crisis on relationships, and offers key directions for future research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times