Relationships, technology and the role of living arrangements during social lockdown related to COVID-19

Cory Cascalheira, Mark McCormack, Liam Wignall

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Abstract

© 2023,Bristol University Press. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Families, Relationships and Societies uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.

COVID-19-related social lockdowns had profound consequences in all aspects of social life, yet the role of technology to mediate relationships during lockdown has received little attention. Drawing on a survey of 565 young adults in the UK, we used mixed methods to explore differences in technology use by people in serious romantic relationships (co-habiting vs. living apart together), casual relationships, or single and (b) how COVID-19 influenced long-term, serious relationships. For participants in a serious relationship, technology was used as a strategy to facilitate ongoing communication, enabling partners to achieve “intimacy from afar.” Qualitative analysis revealed five reasons (e.g., more free time, navigating lockdown restrictions, greater boredom, desire for love, miscellaneous) for changes in online dating profile usage. People in serious relationships perceived deeper intimate bonds, boundary issues, less physical intimacy, difficulty with lockdown separation, and greater negative impact as a result of COVID-19. Limitations and implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • LAT
  • Living arrangements
  • online dating
  • relationships

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