COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress levels, making everyone at a high risk of developing a mental disorder. But those who are staying at home with their families or partner may experience more sadness and anger than other people, according to the new study. Staying at home with your partner is not easy, there are so many challenges, compromises, and sacrifices that it takes. But sometimes all that a person needs is some personal space which is not possible when the world is going through a pandemic.
The research team from West Virginia University identifies that it is possible for a partner to feel that maybe the other partner has completely disrupted everything at home. When this starts to feel more often, it often causes relationship problems.
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Kevin Knoster is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies who has worked on this project. After examining nearly 165 married people and closely monitoring their routines and roles at home within the first month of the pandemic has made surprising revealing showing how sadness and anger increase when both partners are at home, following lockdown restrictions.
The complete study findings are now published in the journal Communication Research Reports.
According to Knoster when a person starts to feel that the other partner is not helping at all and making all this more difficult to manage, it triggers an emotional response. As it grows, it continuously increases sadness and anger in a partner and sometimes both partners can feel this same regarding each other.
Initially Knoster and one of his fellow doctoral student Heath Howard, both of which were living with their married spouses started working on how relationship problems may start while the world battles with a pandemic. After some time, Alan Goodboy and Megan Dillow (from the faculty) also joined them in this study.
As this is a unique situation that has created never seen before circumstances, understanding the reason behind turbulent relationships caused by a pandemic became necessary. Most people are used to a set routine and their bodies have adapted it fully, for example, leaving for work every day. Now when everything changed after the pandemic, the concept of work from home is not something that was welcomed by everyone.
Starting to work from home, all of a sudden was hard, difficult to manage, and frustrating because of the uncertainty of the situation and home isolation. The response, help, and support from a partner could have changed it but most people reported the other way, reporting that they are experiencing more sadness and anger than before.
Based on data from all the participants the research team concluded that the change in daily routine is increasing stress, which also affects the spouses to feel negative. Plus, if the other partner is actually causing something which is troublesome, it can make the situation even worse.
However, both partners supporting each other and helping to adjust routines can lower this sadness and anger