Rachel completed a Psychology undergraduate degree at the University of Southampton in 2021. She has worked as a Research Assistant developing maternal mental health services across Southeast London. Rachel joined the University of Surrey as a Research Assistant in EDI for the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Programme.
In 2022 Rachel was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship by the NIHR to support her training and development for conducting mixed-methods research related to health and social care. Her research focuses on mental health within racially marginalised groups.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the global economy and affected millions of people's work and personal lives across the world. The purpose of the present study was to better understand how individuals' work and personal goals have been affected by the pandemic and how they have adapted to these changes. We conducted qualitative semi-structured interviews (n = 48) and surveyed participants (n = 200) weekly for 5 weeks. Both methods revealed similar themes regarding the adaptation and pursuit of goals (social support, handling unpredictable situations, logistics, solving problems creatively, goal postponement, and no changes). Survey responses also showed that most individuals experienced their goals as more difficult (79%; 13% easier; 9% no change) and found that many had had to adapt or postpone their work and personal goals, often due to logistical difficulties. Businesses and governments should do more to help individuals adapt their goals to the new circumstances.
When romantic partners' personal goals conflict, this can negatively affect personal goal outcomes, such as progress. In a concurrent mixed methods study, we investigated whether goal conflict and negation of goal conflict were associated with goal outcomes (progress, confidence, motivation) and what strategies partners used during the COVID-19 pandemic to negotiate goal conflict. Survey participants (n = 200) completed a daily diary for a week and weekly longitudinal reports for a month and interview participants (n = 48) attended a semi-structured interview. Results showed that higher goal conflict was associated with lower goal outcomes, and successful negotiation of goal conflict was associated with better goal outcomes. Qualitative analyses identified three goal conflict negotiation strategies (compromise, integration, concession). Conversations focused on both practical and emotional needs and included respectful communication and space from conflict (timeout or avoidance). The mixed methods results suggest that goal conflict was low during the pandemic and participants were often able to negotiate goal conflict resulting in better goal outcomes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been stuck indoors with their partners for months. Having a supportive partner is likely to be especially important during this time when access to outside sources of support is limited. The present mixed-methods study aimed to investigate how partner support is associated with goal outcomes during COVID-19. The survey participants (n = 200) completed a daily diary for a week and five weekly longitudinal reports, and 48 participants attended a semi-structured interview. The quantitative results showed that higher relational catalyst support (i.e., support for growth opportunities) predicted better goal outcomes; qualitative analyses revealed partners use direct and indirect forms of emotional and instrumental support toward goal pursuit. This is important because most studies to date have not differentiated between direct and indirect forms of support. Overall, the findings suggest that having a supportive partner is important for not only surviving, but also thriving through the pandemic.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples are staying at home together for an extended period. This is likely to impact couples as they navigate their responsibilities while maintaining a healthy relationship during uncertain times. We conducted qualitative research to investigate participants' perception on how relationships changed considering COVID-19 and social distancing measures. Data were collected through open-ended surveys (n = 200) which were completed weekly for 5 weeks and by semi-structured interviews (n = 48). Overall, 28.6% of relationships had gotten better, 28.6% worse, 29.9% stayed the same, and 8.0% were mixed. Both methods highlighted similar themes (communication, space, togetherness, sharing responsibilities, quality time, and support networks) including 15 sub-themes in the interviews. The study provides a unique insight into the impact of COVID-19 on relationships and provides techniques that have been identified by couples to increase relationship satisfaction for their own and others' relationships.