A longitudinal study of psychological distress in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

April 18, 2021

Lee SJ, Ward KP, Rodriguez CM.

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Lee et al examined changes in relationship conflict during the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US using a survey tool. Data was collected from March to April 2020. Survey variables included whether partners disagreed about COVID-19, had “more disagreements than usual”, had “more verbal fights than usual”, and had “more physical fights than usual”. A risk and resilience framework was utilized, which highlighted risk enhancers such as unemployment and mental health problems, and protective factors such as dyadic coping. The sample was particularly well educated and had low levels of relationship conflict. Endorsement of more verbal fights and more disagreements than usual increased significantly over time. Dyadic coping mechanisms did not protect against short term increases in conflict. The researchers intimate that there should be an increase in mental health services and that there may be an increase in interpersonal violence the longer the pandemic persists.

Lee SJ et al. Longitudinal Analysis of Short-term Changes in Relationship Conflict During COVID-19: A Risk and Resilience Perspective. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2021. doi:10.1177/08862605211006359