It’s safe to say that social media is no longer something enjoyed solely by college students or those with an exceptional level of computer savvy. These days, people of all ages regularly communicate with one another via online mediums like Facebook, where they can chat with friends and family, post photos and share ideas.
However, a recently released study by researchers with the University of Missouri, University of Hawaii and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio suggests that excessive use of Facebook may result in infidelity, breakups and even divorce.
The study, published in the impending issue of the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, asked 205 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 82 to outline how much/how often they use the online platform and whether they experienced any sort of relationship turmoil as a result.
Here, the researchers discovered that excessive Facebook use — defined as checking a profile more than once an hour — was indeed linked to infidelity, terminated relationships and the dissolution of marriage.
Why is this so?
“Previous research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner’s Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of jealousy,” said Russell Clayton, one of the primary authors of the study. “Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.”
One of the more fascinating discoveries of the researchers was that the relationship turmoil caused by Facebook seemed to be confined largely to those couples who had been together for three years or less.
They theorize that this phenomenon can likely be attributed to the fact that people who have been together for a relatively short amount of time typically haven’t seen their relationships mature, meaning they may feel less secure about their partner’s commitment level.
Not surprisingly, the researchers conclude that couples, particularly those who are just starting out, should try to limit their Facebook activity and perhaps focus more on spending time together.
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Source: The Huffington Post, “Facebook, divorce linked in new study,” June 6, 2013