Stress, relational turbulence, and communal coping during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hannah E Jones, Jennifer A Theiss, Deborah B Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study examined how increased stress during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to relational turbulence and undermined dyadic coping. Using longitudinal data, this study also explored how enacting communal coping mitigates stress and conditions of relational turbulence over time. A sample of 151 U.S. dyads (302 individuals) completed online surveys about their relationship once per week for four weeks during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling. Consistent with hypotheses, stress was positively associated with the relationship conditions that give rise to relational turbulence and heightened relational turbulence was negatively associated with communal coping. Longitudinal analyses revealed that communal coping enacted in one week was associated with decreased stress and improved relationship quality in subsequent weeks. The findings are discussed in terms of their practical implications and contributions to theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-271
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 17 2023

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2023.


  • COVID-19
  • communal coping
  • relational turbulence
  • relational uncertainty
  • stress


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