Pandemic Has Altered Social Relationships: Study | Be Korea-savvy

Pandemic Has Altered Social Relationships: Study

People crossing a street in Seoul in this file photo. (Yonhap)

People crossing a street in Seoul in this file photo. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Korea Bizwire)Social relationships are changing drastically as the coronavirus pandemic, which has dragged on over the past two years, has prevented people from meeting in person.

An institute affiliated with South Korea’s top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance Co. reported Wednesday that COVID-19 has led to a drastic reduction in offline meetings due to restrictions on assembly, taking a toll on social relationships outside the family.

In the 2021 Social Survey conducted by Statistics Korea, 36.7 percent of respondents felt ‘detached from their family and relatives’, easily surpassing those who felt ‘closer’ (2 percent).

Respondents also felt their relationships with neighbors (38.9 percent) or friends (35.5 percent) had somewhat deteriorated, while only 0.8 percent and 2.2 percent felt otherwise.

In contrast, stronger family ties were seen as the positive side of the pandemic era.

Among respondents, 12.9 percent believed they had gotten closer to their family members, which was more than those who felt otherwise (12.6 percent).

“Out of all forms of social relationships, family relationships were the only social ties that have gotten stronger in the pandemic era,” the institute said.

An emphasis on work-life balance has also spread further in the pre-pandemic era.

The work and life balance ratio went from 42.9 percent in 2017 to 44.2 percent in 2019 and 48.2 percent this year, setting a new record.

The ratio of those who prioritized work over life dropped from 42.1 percent in 2019 to 35.5 percent this year. The ratio of those who prioritized family over work rose from 13.7 percent in 2019 to 18.3 percent this year.

H. M. Kang (

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