Researchers: link between heavy social media use and divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Divorce on Monday, June 9, 2014.

Many of our readers have likely already read or heard about a perceived link between the heavy use of social media sites by one or both partners in a marriage and resulting storm clouds in that union.

New research that appeared recently in the online publication Computers in Human Behavior presents findings that confirm a strong correlation between regular use of social network sites and marital problems.

Specifically, as noted by researcher and professor James E. Katz, “people’s growing enthrallment with social media” has configured in a material way in divorce outcomes in a growing number of cases across the country. Katz and fellow researchers say that heavy Facebook use especially is a prominent marker — a “positive, significant predictor” — of marital problems and subsequent divorce.

The relevance of such findings would seem to apply equally across all American states, including Illinois and Missouri, given the universal nature of and easy access to sites like Facebook. In fact, the work done by Katz and co-workers relied upon data compiled from most states across the country.

The researchers believe that heavy social media site users that are apprised of the link between use and divorce might better note the connection between their online activities and what is going on in their marriages. That might in turn “allow them to make much more informed decisions,” Katz says.

The cited Facebook-divorce link is likely not surprising to readers who readily note the underlying purpose of engaging on social media sites.

After all, participation on Facebook is driven largely by a desire to interact with both existing friends and new acquaintances. If a marriage already has cracks in it, the active pursuit by one or both partners of new relationships can serve to further undermine stability and result in divorce in some instances.

Source: BU Today, “Could Facebook end a marriage?” Amy Laskowski, June 2, 2014

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