Harmful Stress-Related Couple Processes During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown: A Longitudinal Dyadic Perspective

Frontiers in Psychology 13 (2022)
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Abstract

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus “pandemic.” To reduce the risk of contamination, many countries have ordered a lockdown characterized by social distancing and restrictive isolation measures. While the lockdown has proven to be quite effective in terms of physical health, little is known about its impact on couple satisfaction in a dyadic perspective. The current research was a 4-waves longitudinal study with the objective to examine the trajectory of couple satisfaction during the lockdown with a dyadic perspective, including the presence of children at home, the number of hours spent together, and the duration of the relationship as time-invariant predictors and the partner’s couple satisfaction trajectory as a time-varying covariate. Results showed positive intraindividual changes in couple satisfaction during the lockdown, especially an increase in partners’ effectiveness for resolving couple conflicts and a decrease in partners’ aggressiveness. Partners had also perceived the influence of the lockdown as more and more positive over time on couple and family functioning. Finally, the couple satisfaction of both partners changed in tandem during the lockdown: The perception of the couple relationship seems to similarly evolve between partners.

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