Relationships, Technology and the Role of Living Arrangements During Social Lockdown Related to COVID-19

Cory Cascalheira, Mark McCormack, Liam Wignall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19-related social lockdowns had profound consequences in all aspects of social life, yet the role of technology to mediate relationships during lockdown has received little attention. Drawing on a survey of 565 young adults in the UK, we used mixed methods to explore differences in technology use by people in serious romantic relationships (co-habiting vs. living apart together), casual relationships, or single and (b) how COVID-19 influenced long-term, serious relationships. For participants in a serious relationship, technology was used as a strategy to facilitate ongoing communication, enabling partners to achieve “intimacy from afar.” Qualitative analysis revealed five reasons (e.g., more free time, navigating lockdown restrictions, greater boredom, desire for love, miscellaneous) for changes in online dating profile usage. People in serious relationships perceived deeper intimate bonds, boundary issues, less physical intimacy, difficulty with lockdown separation, and greater negative impact as a result of COVID-19. Limitations and implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2023


  • COVID-19
  • LAT
  • Living arrangements
  • online dating
  • relationships


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