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US Research Finds COVID Pandemic Has Escalated Aggression Among Intimate Couples

COVID restrictions during the pandemic have escalated physical, psychological aggression among the couple claims a study paper published in the US journal.

COVID-19, Couples in COVID-19, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19 Pandemic couple


A new study has revealed that COVID restrictions during the Pandemic have escalated physical and psychological aggression among couples. According to a study paper published in the journal 'Psychology of Violence,' it has come to light that due to the COVID pandemic, couples have indulged in six to eight times more aggressive behavior across the US. The study observed that physical aggression among intimate couples has increased from 2 acts to 15 acts per year among those couples living under the same roof, and the study revealed that psychological aggression increased from 16 acts to 96 acts per year.

Researchers say the COVID pandemic has increased aggression among couples

The findings highlighted that stress caused due to lockdown was carried out on partners and the individuals were still at low risk. The lead author of the study, Dominic Parrott, who is also a professor of psychology and the director of a research center, said, "If you think about it, that [increase] represents an enormous shift in people's day-to-day lives." It's the difference between having a bad fight with your partner once a month versus twice a week. The researchers recruited as many as 510 participants in 2020 and asked them about the changes they felt before and after the lockdown and the effect of COVID on their lives and community. The participants honestly expressed their views and said COVID has created a lot of stress and tension among partners, which has also promoted drinking and aggression. 

Explaining the mental condition of the patients, Parrott said, "People were suddenly under an enormous amount of stress, and we felt relatively certain that this was increasing aggression and violence." He further explained, "There is data showing that after natural disasters, for example, when basic resources are lost and people have to live in close proximity, intimate partner violence goes up. "Our fundamental aim was to document what was happening as a result of the pandemic," he added. The researchers observed that those who were addicted to heavy drinking reacted violently during the COVID-induced lockdown, but non-drinkers were also seriously affected by stress during the COVID. 

"People who aren't heavy drinkers may be able to prevent stress from affecting their relationships under normal circumstances, but we hypothesized that the extreme events of the pandemic might change that. And that's how the data played out, "said Parrott. "Pandemic stress didn't really tip the scales towards violence among heavy drinkers, but for non-heavy drinkers, all bets were off," added Parrott.

What did researchers observe?

While carrying out this experimental study, the researchers observed that policies related to humanitarian assistance, relief packages or free food, and health care facilities may possibly reduce stress among people and aggression among couples. The researchers observed that the increase in daily COVID-19 cases across the country was also one of the leading causes behind increased aggression among the couple. The research pointed out that most people would not think of relief package and healthcare facilities as an effective measure, but it surely is.

"Most people wouldn't think about intimate partner violence as a reason to offer an economic relief package, but our data suggests that it has the potential to be an effective measure," said Parrott. The data also suggests that typical high-risk groups are not the only ones at risk of perpetrating violence in this kind of crisis environment, "continued Parrott. "The stress of the pandemic is so profound and so ubiquitous that you need interventions or policies that hit big swaths of the population," concluded Parrott.


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