UK Study Evaluates The Impact Of Pandemic On Relationships

According to a recent UK study, out of five adults, more than one experienced a complete relationship breakdown either at home or at work in the past year. People in the younger age group were more likely to have been affected by the above. According to the study, anxiety over one’s finances and the loss of jobs, including the inability to see other people outside the household, could have played a significant role. According to the study done by University College London, a quarter of people reported that their relationships with their partner or spouse took a turn for the worse during the pandemic, with a quarter reporting difficulty with co-workers. The study also found that a complete relationship breakdown was experienced by more than one-fifth of adults (22%) with either friends, co-workers, family or neighbours. Adults in the age group 18-29 were most likely to have experienced a breakdown in a relationship. However, not all relationships took a turn for the worse, almost half of young adults (46%) mentioned that their relationships with either spouse or partner improved over the past year which is higher than adults in the age group 30-59 and those over sixty. The study, which is still ongoing, is funded by the Nuffield Foundation with support from (UKRI) UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome. More than seventy thousand people have participated in the study over the course of seventy two weeks.

Dr Elise Paul, who is the lead author of the study said the report reflected “the mixed impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” adding “Younger adults reporting a better relationship with their spouse or partner may have benefited from furlough or remote working allowing them to spend more time together. On the other hand, the stress of the pandemic and lockdown measures which prevented people from seeing those outside their household may have contributed to the breakdown of other relationships, particularly those with people who do not live close by.”

“Again, this shows the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on those whose lives were changed the most, whether through the curtailing of an active social life, or the stress of frontline roles or insecure employment.”

The Nuffield Foundation’s education programme head Cheryl Lloyd said “Younger adults are not only more likely to have reported a relationship breakdown than older age groups but, in recent months, they are also more likely to have reported concerns about catching or becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, worries about their finances and lower levels of life satisfaction. This research is well placed to inform policy decisions by providing valuable insights into the particular challenges different generations continue to face.”

The percentage of people who were worried about catching the virus currently appears to be at thirty one percent from a high of thirty six percent during the end of the third lockdown. The same group of people are running an international network of researchers. The international team is collecting and combining results from mental health studies in over seventy countries.