EUniWell Open Lecture Series: COVID-19 as an engine of family reshuffling


University of Florence Online EUniWell-Event

Under the title ‘COVID-19 as an Engine of Family Reshuffling - Gender Equality and Relationship Quality during the Pandemic’, Prof Daniele Vignoli spoke on couples’ role sets and subjective well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the EUniWell Open Lecture Series on Thursday, 24 February 2022.

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Lecturer: Prof Daniele Vignoli
Moderator:Prof Giorgia Giovannetti
Related EUniWell Arena: 2) Individual and Social Well-being


About this lecture:

COVID-19 as an Engine of Family Reshuffling
Gender Equality and Relationship Quality during the Pandemic

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are not limited to health and economy; couples and intimate relationships are also affected. Nonetheless, there is insufficient evidence regarding how families are adapting to this new normal and the pandemic’s long-term effect on relationship quality. We use novel population-level data collected for September 2021 in Italy to examine variations and correlations of relationship quality in the advanced stages of the pandemic. Our findings suggest that the pandemic has resulted in huge shifts in family life. When children are involved, approximately 45–50% of couples experienced changes in their relationship satisfaction. Couples have attempted to adapt to the new reality, experiencing both gains and losses to their relationship quality. For couples with less egalitarian gender attitudes, and couples in which the pandemic has fostered preexisting domestic gender inequalities, relationship quality declined. For more egalitarian couples, and for couples where the pandemic has offered the opportunity to reach a new equilibrium with a more balanced division of unpaid work, i.e. tasks between partners, relationship quality improved.

Research background:

Daniele Vignoli is Professor of Demography at the University of Florence, where he teaches ‘Family Demography’ and ‘Longitudinal Data Analysis’. He is the scientific coordinator of the University of Florence Population and Society Unit, Editor-in-Chief of GENUS, and co-director of FloPS (Florence Population Studies). Currently, he leads an ERC Consolidator Grant on ‘Economic Uncertainty and Fertility in Europe’, a Miur-FARE Grant on ‘Uncertainty and Fertility: Narratives’, and a Miur-Prin Grant on ‘The Great Demographic Recession’. His research addresses: family demography; social demography; and the life course. In 2020, he received the Dirk J. van de Kaa Award for Social Demography from the European Association for Population Studies for “outstanding achievements by an individual scholar in social demography, and the interplay of population dynamics and social change”.


This lecture was part of the EUniWell Open Lecture Series. Find the full programme here.