Facebook, the relationship destroyer

Study shows excessive use of social network can lead to cheating, breakup, divorce

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Image credit: Flickr/SKLEY


People who use Facebook excessively are "far more likely to experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners," according to the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

A study by doctoral student Russell Clayton determined that the discord arising from too much Facebook could lead to emotional and physical cheating, break-ups and divorce.

Not much to "like" about that, is there?

Facebook users from ages 18 and 82 were surveyed about the amount of time they use the social network, as well as how much conflict that use caused with their current or former partners.

High levels of use among couples were significant predictors of Facebook-related conflict, the researchers concluded, and this significantly predicted negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup, and divorce.

"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," Clayton said in a statement. "Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners. 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."

The good news -- if there is good news here -- is that the "findings held only for couples who had been in relationships of three years or less," according to Clayton. "This suggests that Facebook may be a threat to relationships that are not fully matured."

Clayton conducted the study with Alexander Nagurney, an instructor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Jessica R. Smith, a doctoral student at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. Results will be published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

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