Study about work life and partnership satisfaction during the pandemic

Categories: GESIS-News

Lisa Schmid, Jonathan Wörn, Karsten Hank, Barbara Sawatzki and Sabine Walper: Changes in employment and relationship satisfaction in times of the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from the German Family Panel, in: European Societies

The COVID 19 pandemic is changing many areas of life and can also put a strain on couples' relationships. The study by Lisa Schmid and colleagues investigates how the relationship satisfaction of people (married or unmarried) living together with partners has developed during the COVID-19 pandemic and what role changes in the work situation (especially short-time work and home office) play in this. For this purpose, the researchers evaluated data from the German relationship and family panel "pairfam" and calculated how the partnership satisfaction of working people changed between the years 2018/2019 and April/May 2020.

The results show a general decline in partnership satisfaction during the pandemic. This was independent of whether people had experienced a career change such as short-time work, home office, or both - interestingly, people who had not reported any of these changes also showed a similar development. This pattern was observed for both women and men. Moreover, the analyses offered only weak evidence for the assumption that relationship satisfaction would drop particularly sharply if the partner had also experienced a change in the work situation. Surprisingly, however, the decline in relationship satisfaction is significantly weaker for parents than for couples without children in the household. One reason for this could be that the relationship satisfaction of parents was already lower than that of people without children before the pandemic began.

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