There’s nothing to “Like” about this finding: frequenting social media sites such as Facebook is linked to a higher risk of divorce, according to a new study. Research from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and Boston University’s College of Communication suggests a startling connection between Facebook activity and an increased divorce rate.
The recent study, which “explores the relationship between using social network sites, marriage satisfaction, and divorce rate,” found that U.S. states in which a greater percentage of the population was on Facebook have a higher divorce rate. Specifically, the researchers determined that a 20% hike in Facebook membership among a state’s residents correlated with a 2.18% bump in that state’s rate of divorce.
“Results show that using social networking sites negatively correlated with marriage quality and happiness, and positively correlated with experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce,” say the researchers behind the study.
According to the study’s abstract, the findings are based on survey data of married individuals as well as state-level data from the United States. The results considered multiple elements that may link Facebook and social media activity with marital dissatisfaction.
That’s not to say that Facebook is dangerous for all married couples. The researchers emphasized that the correlation cannot be assumed to imply causation, but the findings do raise some interesting questions to ponder about the power of social media in human relationships.
“If the preliminary findings in this study are sustained […] it would also raise profound questions about the role of social media in daily lives,” the researchers state. “It would spur new lines of research in understanding the role of Facebook in divorce and marital satisfaction, prompting a host of policy-oriented research endeavors by social scientists.”
The study was published in the recent edition of Computers in Human Behavior in July 2014; to learn more, click here: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214001563