Relationships at home during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to improve, reports Center study

October 1, 2020 — In spite of the stress from COVID-19 and stay-at-home restrictions, many Americans continue to say the relationships with their spouses and children have improved during the pandemic, a study by the USC Center for the Digital Future (CDF) has found.

The CDF study, conducted twice since the pandemic began, found in its first survey in April that large percentages of Americans say that relationships at home are better since the pandemic began – and those percentages increased during the Center’s second study in June.

Relationships with children

The second CDF study reports that half of Americans with children in their households say their relationships are better, an increase from 45% in April. A slightly higher percentage of men (52%) than women (48%) reported a positive change in their relationships with children.

Only 11% of Americans said their relationships with the children in their households are worse since the pandemic began, with the same percentages for men and women.

Relationships with spouses and partners

The second CDF study found 41% of Americans with a spouse or partner say their relationship is better since the pandemic began, an increase from 35% in April. As with relationships with children, more men (44%) than women (39%) say the relationship with their spouse or partner has improved.

Twelve percent of Americans with a spouse or partner say their relationship has worsened since the pandemic began — the same percentage for men and women.

The Coronavirus Disruption Project

The first round of the CDF’s Coronavirus Disruption Study, released April 29, revealed many changes – both positive and negative – in relationships, emotional stability, and behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic and safer-at-home restrictions began.

The second round of the study, conducted June 19-26, added new questions about political behavior and compared views with those from the earlier study about working from home, education, media, entertainment, shopping, and political outlooks.

The findings are based on the results of surveys of 1,000 respondents conducted in English from an online panel, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The Center for the Digital Future: revealing disruption for two decades

For more than 20 years, the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg ( has explored the impact of digital technologies on the behavior and views of users and non-users. The center also studies disruption in the lives of Americans and the corporate world.