A Descriptive Literature Review of Early Research on COVID-19 and Close Relationships

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This in-depth critical review investigates the impact of COVID-19 on personal relationships from the start of the pandemic in early 2020 to September 2021. Research examining six themes are identified and described in detail: the impact of COVID-19 on (1) family and intimate relationships; (2) LGBTQ+ relationships; (3) how COVID-19 is linked to technologically mediated communication and personal relationships; (4) potential shifts in sexual behaviors and desire; (5) potential shifts in relational conflict and intimate partner violence; and (6) constructive aspects of personal relationships, which is a broad theme that includes outcomes such as resilience, relational quality, coping, and social support. Findings for overarching patterns are offered to highlight implications for current research and identify future directions to consider when continuing to study personal relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic and similar future crises.


This article was originally published in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2022. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075221115387

This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.


The authors