Couples’ Daily Lives Study

WHIRL is trying to understand how couples navigate the various demands of daily life. We are recruiting couples to come into the lab and take part in a study for $20 per partner ($40 per couple).

The study will include a series of short surveys, various tasks designed to mimic day-to-day life, and the collection of physiological data such as saliva samples and heart rate.

Read on below to find out if you’re eligible and learn about our COVID-19 precautions.


More About the Study

Participating with your partner: We are interested in the experience of both members of romantic couples and would set up a time when you and your partner can come in to the lab together for no more than two hours. We will explain the tasks to you, obtain your informed consent, and distribute the $20 each at the end of the session in cash.

Privacy: Though we ask for your email in order to coordinate your presence in the lab, any information you provide during the session will not be associated with your identifying details. We will record audio and visual data if consent is given. Data may be made available online to other researchers. Aggregated results may be posted online.

If you have questions, please contact us at

This research study was reviewed and approved by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Institutional Review Board on August 12th, 2020, Study eResearch ID: HUM00185109.

Eligibility: Participants for this study must be between 20 and 40 years old. Both partners must be either employed full-time or be a full-time student, and must have been living together for at least one year. Both partners must be able to attend a lab session together on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor between the hours of 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm (scheduling will be available weekdays and weekends).

COVID-19 precautions: The University of Michigan has strict guidelines for COVID-19 safety, and this study has been approved as presenting minimal exposure risk to participants and research staff. A researcher will meet you at the door to the building and lead you to the lab, maintaining six feet of distance, after which you and your partner will complete the tasks in your own room. You will communicate with the researcher electronically via a monitor system in the room. You may be in a room with researchers more than 10 feet apart for less than 10 minutes. Researchers and participants will be required to wear appropriate face coverings at all times, except when isolated in their separate rooms. All equipment and rooms will be cleaned and sanitized between uses, and no more than one couple will be scheduled to come in per day. Please feel free to contact us with any further concerns.


Resources for Couples

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of change, uncertainty, and stress. This change, uncertainty, and stress, along with spending so much more time together at home, is likely to create conflict and difficulties in many cohabiting couple’s lives. Here are a few resources to help couples cope:

Online counselors
Tips for couples from relationship experts: Time Magazine Article | UC Berkeley News
A Psychology Today blog post by Dr. Gordon

lsa logoum logo
U-M Privacy Statement
Accessibility at U-M