Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level





Amason, Patricia

Committee Member/Reader

Brown, Lucy

Committee Member/Second Reader

Walker, Kasey

Committee Member/Third Reader

Morrissey, Sean


The following study explores the effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the initiation and development of human relationships. During the early days of the pandemic, governments forced shutdowns of businesses and workplaces, and public health officials created social-distancing and facial covering mandates to protect the health of citizens. However, long periods of isolation can foster negative emotions and feelings, such as loneliness, anxiety, and depression. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, humans have an innate need for love and belonging, but the health risks of contracting the virus and social-distancing enforcements significantly threatened the “normal” methods of satisfying this necessary motivation. At this time, dating apps experienced a surge in activity and achieved the most users the platforms had ever seen in history. While online dating is nothing new, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the dual-modality aspect of the relational process. Thus, the processes of virtual dating are new to society with adapted concepts of computer-mediated communication. An online survey was conducted to collect qualitative data offering user insights into these innovative methods of relationship formation, such as any differences in self-presentation, impression management, and self-disclosure strategies. The survey also sought to discover new tactics in risk negotiation, as switching to face-to-face communication was paired with the possibility of contracting the virus. At the time this survey was conducted, the number of positive Covid-19 cases significantly decreased, and mandates had been lifted, so questions also explored the possibility of the continuation of virtual dating despite public spaces reopening and the ability to build relationships in person again.


Impression management, self-presentation, dual-modality, computer-mediated communication, social connection, COVID-19 pandemic