Relationships 'bear the brunt' of lockdown misery

The UK’s largest study into how adults have coped with lockdown has revealed that a quarter of participants have reported their relationships with colleagues have deteriorated and a fifth say their friendships outside of their household have got worse.
Relationships 'bear the brunt' of lockdown miseryRelationships 'bear the brunt' of lockdown misery
Relationships 'bear the brunt' of lockdown misery

Launched in the week before lockdown started, this ongoing study is funded by the Nuffield Foundation with additional support from Wellcome and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

It is the UK’s largest study into how adults are feeling about the lockdown, government advice and overall wellbeing and mental health with over 70,000 participants including 1,732 from Scotland who have been followed across the last 16 weeks.

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In addition, 18 per cent of respondents in the University College London, Covid-19 Social Study reported a worsening of relationships with their spouse/partner, 20 per cent reported a worsening of relationships with other adults they lived with and 17 per cent with children they lived with.

Relationships outside of the household have also suffered, with 19 per cent reporting a worsening of relations with children outside of the home, and 16 per cent with parents or other relatives.

Conversely, over a third of adults living with children reported improvements in their relationships, most commonly with their partner/spouse, neighbours, or other adults in their household.

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Worsening relationships were more commonly reported amongst younger adults, with older adults the least likely to report any change. Around 12 per cent of respondents reported the breakdown of a relationship since lockdown began, with adults under 30 reporting this most and people over 60 the least.

Lead author, Dr Daisy Fancourt (UCL Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “Our study shows that lockdown measures are having a significant toll on people’s relationships, both with people locked down together and those who have been unable to see each other over the lockdown period.

“This is especially true of people with diagnosed mental health issues and younger adults, as well as those with lower household incomes, key workers, those living along and those living with children, all of whom may be facing greater financial or mental pressures which have been exacerbated during the lockdown period.”

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