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While social media has opened up a broad new spectrum of communication possibilities, research finds excessive use of Facebook can prove harmful to a relationship down the line.
For the study, Russell Clayton, of the University of Missouri, 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, surveyed Facebook users aged 18 to 82 about their use on the social media site and its impact on romantic relationships.
The goal was to find out which type of conflicts arose over Facebook, how often and how these issues were resolved.
What they discovered was high usage of Facebook is a significant predictor of conflict, as well as negative outcomes including infidelity, separation or divorce.
“High usage of Facebook is a significant
predictor of negative outcomes like infidelity.”
“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.
The study shows the results were particularly apparent among couples who are in new relationships.
“This suggests that Facebook may be a threat to relationships that are not fully matured,” he said.
Jealously was found to a recurring issue of conflict reportedly among all users, but especially participants who are heavy users.
“Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners,” Clayton said. “Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners.”