The Coronavirus Effect – Marriages peak amidst uncertainty and shifting relationship priorities

Lukas Litzellachner, Gregory Maio

Research output: Other contribution

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In collaboration with eharmony, I investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marriages, child-bearing intentions, divorces, partner priorities, and relationship functioning. I compared 2020 demographic ratios such as marriages per 1000 singles, the percentage of women (between 18 - 44 years of age) who want more children, and divorces per 1000 marriages from a sample of 2000 UK population-representative respondents with 2019 data obtained from various UK national statistics services. I also collected data on partner preferences from this sample. To investigate relationship functioning, I asked 473 UK couples about their personalities, values, adherence to infection prevention behaviours, COVID-related stress, and relationship quality. Results show that 2020 likely saw a high amount of marriages, discontinuing the previous downward trend of marriages per 1000 singles in the country. Individuals self-reported increased importance of having prosocial partners and lasting committed relationships. Further, couples where both partners reported high levels of adherence to Infection Prevention Behaviours reported the least amount of COVID-related conflict. These findings mirror phenomena observed with disasters in past literature, that were often attributed to terror management processes. I conclude that individuals are motivated to deepen their relationships in order to buffer the felt uncertainty related to the pandemic, while also striving to remain safe from its immediate impact.
Original languageEnglish
TypeBlog Post
Media of outputText
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021


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