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News article

Love in the time of Covid: examining the impact of social distancing on self, and on romantic relationships

Published: 16 June 2021

  •   Featured
  •   Research
A couple seated in a cafe greeting each other with an elbow bump

From vaccine status stickers on Tinder and engagements on a second date to escalating divorce rates, the pandemic has rewritten the rules for relationships. No two experiences are the same, with some people struggling with loneliness and yearning for human contact and others feeling trapped 24/7 or even experiencing abuse in relationships they no longer want. As a single person how do you connect with a new partner during lockdown when you’re barely allowed outside and must observe social distancing?  

York St John University is conducting research into how the pandemic has affected the nation’s love lives. Researchers are seeking to examine feelings of self worth, as well as the impact of COVID -19 social distancing on oneself, and on love relationships.   

Participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire about the impact of social distancing on self, their love relationships, compassion, affection, closeness and commitment. Questions will also explore feelings of self worth and experience of any Coronavirus Anxiety.   

Professor Divine Charura, Professor of Counselling Psychology is leading the study. He said: “Over the last year and a half, COVID-19 has had an incalculable impact on life in so many ways. There is growing evidence that the stress of the pandemic is impacting on romantic relationships, but we don’t yet fully know these effects over time. As a psychotherapist and practitioner psychologist in clinical practice, I have witnessed first-hand the emotional strain on individuals, couples, and families. Now we want to further explore the underlying psychological experiences, and emotional impact associated with the social distancing guidelines and lockdowns in the UK. Our research on Love in the time of Covid, will help us understand the lived experience and emotional and psychological wellbeing of those experiencing one or more relationships through the pandemic.”  

The study aims to provide important information on psychological wellbeing and its contribution to loving relationships, compassion, affection, closeness and commitment during a pandemic. By understanding the impact of the Covid-19 on relationships it is also hoped that this research will enable future support for those whose psychological wellbeing and relationships are impacted.  

If you’re a UK resident, please join this research and take part via this link:

York St John staff and students can also use this link:  

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