Couples’ Daily Lives Study – WHIRLab

Couples’ Daily Lives Study

The WHIRLab is trying to understand how couples navigate the various demands of daily life. We are recruiting couples to take part in a multi-part study for up to $112 per partner ($224 per couple).

The study includes a background survey, an in-person lab session with 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. Participants will then participate in a 2-week long diary survey and three follow-up surveys, all online.


Data collection for this study is closed. Thank you to all who participated!

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. Most couples take about 1.5 hours. We will explain the tasks to you, obtain your informed consent, and distribute the $30 each as a mailed check following the session. Prior to the lab session, you will be asked to complete a background survey that typically takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.

For two weeks after your lab session, we will ask you and your partner to complete short nightly surveys on our WHIRLab App (published by The University of Michigan). These surveys typically take 5-10 minutes and will help us understand what your daily life looks like. Completion of all 14 nights will result in a compensation of $42 per partner ($3 for each nightly survey you complete). Payment will be sent to you as a check after completion of the 14-day period.

For the follow-up surveys, we will contact you via email to complete additional online surveys at one, six, and twelve months post-lab session. Each of these follow-up surveys will be compensated with $10. If you complete all three follow-up surveys, you will receive a bonus $10, for a maximum payout of $40 if you complete all three. Payment will be sent to you as a check after completion of each survey.

Your maximum possible compensation is $112.00 per partner, or $224.00 per couple. All couples who complete the in-person lab session are guaranteed $30.00 per partner, or $60.00 per couple.

Study Structure and Payment Details

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. De-identified data may be made available online to other researchers. Aggregated results may be posted online.

If you have questions, please contact us at

Eligibility: Participants for this study must be between 20 and 50 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 11:30 am and 6:30 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. 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. 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

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