We are collecting data again!
When we launched the study back in April, we hoped that life would return to normal by the end of 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives. Thus, we are conducting a follow-up study in order to better understand the long-term effects of the pandemic on family life. This follow-up study will be identical to the study you participated in earlier this year. That is, we will ask you to complete an initial questionnaire asking you about any big changes that may have happened in your life since the last time you participated. This questionnaire should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Then, just like last time, we would like for you to complete a short 10-15 minute survey every night before bed for 14 days. Again, we will compensate you for your time. Considering how valuable your time is during these challenging days, we have increased our payment. You will receive a $10 gift card for completing the initial questionnaire and a $25 gift card for completing the 14-day daily survey task. As before, if both you and your partner participate, we will add a $20 bonus; in other words, couples can earn up to $90 for their participation.
What have we found so far?
At this point, we do not want to share too much both because our findings are preliminary and because we are continuing the study. However, we have a few things we thought we could share about the first wave of the study now.
We had 204 participants in our study! The average age of participants was around 38 years-old with a range from 18 – 83 years-old. Approximately half of our participants were married and most (88%) had been living with their partner prior to quarantine, meaning that 12% moved in with their partner due to quarantine. About 20% of our sample had children under the age of 18 living with them and 17% were deemed essential workers. Most of our participants reported living in an urban or suburban area with less than 20% reporting living in a small town or rural area.
However, those numbers just describe who participated in the study and not what they reported about their daily lives while quarantining with their partner. It turns out that quarantining did not appear to put a damper on enjoying being with one’s partner. People reported sharing a leisure activity, having a pleasant meal, and laughing with their partner on over 70% of days. Unfortunately, it was not all fun and laughter as people also reported that on approximately 21% of days their partner irritated them. Women tended to say that their partner irritated them more often (23% of days) than they irritated their partner (19% of days). Interestingly, men tended to report irritating their partner more often (26% of days) and being irritated by their partner less often (17% of days). It seems men and women agree on who is more irritating!
We also asked you about the best and worst moments of your day and the answers were many and varied. People report their partner as being the thing that brought them the most joy in a given day as demonstrated in this answer “The life that I have with my wife and how grateful I am to be going through it with her.” However, partners were also the reason people experienced their highest levels of upset in a day: “Irritated with husband’s bad mood.” Children and family also tended to show up as high points: “Going on a walk with my daughter and chasing her and playing tag with her!” and low points: “Toddler meltdown;” “Getting my child to focus during her online class session.” We also noticed that many of the trends that were receiving media attention during that time showed up in the answers. High points involved baking: “baking project experiment – banana bread with blueberries”; playing video games “caught tarantula in Animal Crossing”; and adopting new pets “New dog!!!”. Unfortunately, less fun trends, like disagreements surrounding the pandemic made appearances in low points: “Argument with partner over his family not social distancing.”
We look forward to sharing more substantive findings from both the first wave and second wave of the study with you soon!