University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Testing Similarity in Romantic Partners’ COVID-19 Experiences at the Time of a Pain-Related Emergency Department Visit

Lauren M. Papp, PhD; Chrystyna D. Kouros, PhD

WMJ. 2023;122(5):428-431

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Background: Research has established associations between romantic partners’ health-related behaviors, although links between partners’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of an important medical event remain untested.

Methods: The sample was drawn from an existing study of patients who received a new opioid prescription at an emergency department visit for acute pain. We assessed COVID-19 experiences of 97 patients and their romantic partners from April 2021 through June 2022.

Results: Romantic partners reported similar ratings of COVID-19 impact and were likely to agree on their coping with the pandemic by engaging in more time on activities like puzzles or books, using marijuana, and drinking alcohol. Partners also demonstrated high concordance in their COVID-19 vaccination statuses.

Conclusions: These findings extend a robust literature showing romantic partners’ concordance in a host of health-relevant behaviors to their COVID-19 experiences.

Author Affiliations: Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin (Papp); Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (Kouros).
Corresponding Author: Lauren M. Papp, PhD, Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1300 Linden Dr, Madison, WI 53706; phone 608.262.8611; email; ORCID ID 0000-0003-0408-9535
Acknowledgements: The authors appreciate the dedication of the EDRC staff members in the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the study participants.
Funding/Support: This work was supported by a Fall Competition Award from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a grant from the Mental Research Institute.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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