The emotional wear and tear of pandemic-induced isolation played havoc with social connections. And it may take a while for U.S. adults to repair those interrupted relationships with friends and family members, according to a new survey by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.
The toll of lockdowns on personal relationships is higher now than during the onset of the pandemic, according to the research, even with declining coronavirus infection rates, improving job prospects, and a reopened economy. And men seem to be the hardest hit in recovering from the isolation.
“Just because we can have dinner with people again doesn’t mean those relationships are back to where they were,” says David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer sciences at Northeastern and one of the researchers who conducted the study.
“There is the question of what effects this decay on our personal relationships has had on our lives, and how much are we bouncing back from it,” he says. The data suggest that the bounceback is still a work in progress.