Purpose: Due to the immediacy of the COVID-19 phenomenon, researchers recognized a need to examine the effects of restrictions on communication patterns between committed, cohabiting partners. Prior literature investigated factors contributing to communication satisfaction; however, a substantial gap remains within the occupational therapy (OT) literature. The study explored perceived satisfaction of quantity and quality of communication before and during COVID-19 restrictions between cohabitating, committed partners and its relation to occupation.

Methods: A questionnaire sent via e-mail recruited subjects from an occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program who self-identified as having quarantined with a committed partner during COVID-19 restrictions. A mixed-methods design consisted of two phases: a questionnaire which measured perceptions of quantity and quality of communication before and during COVID-19 restrictions and a virtual focus group which gathered information on lived experiences regarding communication during the same time periods.

Results: The questionnaire provided quantitative data (n=12) on demographics, communication satisfaction, communication frequency, and frequency of media use. Paired sample t-tests did not show a significant difference in means before or during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Four themes emerged from the focus group (n= 6) including change in routines, personal reflections, and quantity and quality of communication.

Conclusion: Findings suggested that quarantining with a committed partner during COVID-19 restrictions had mixed effects on quality and quantity of communication, however, satisfaction remained consistently high. Participants reported adapting to challenges created by COVID-19 restrictions by altering habits and routines specific to communication with their committed partner. The study presents information on the patterns of communication in intimate partner relationships vital to the profession of OT.