Research reveals Facebook and Twitter ‘are not dangerous to relationships’
Two professors at Indiana University and one at Hope College, Michigan have conducted research into the roles social media can play in people’s relationships and whether use of social media is a main factor in parties either separating or divorcing. Their research paper entitled “Facebook or Memory—Which Is the Real Threat to Your Relationship?” looks at whether social media and in particular using Facebook, could encourage people in serious relationships to stray.
A total of 371 undergraduates undertook a survey designed to establish whether their attitude to their partners would be influenced by looking at the profiles of attractive people on the site. The results of the study suggested that whilst looking at Facebook profiles did encourage participants to consider alternative partners, the much greater threat came from people known to the participants in real life. The mere act of thinking about such people lowered the subjects’ perceived satisfaction with their current relationships in most cases.
The researchers concluded by saying “Long before technology emerged, we were cheating, breaking up, and divorcing because we found alternative partners. With or without technology, we continue to do so, using our minds to store information about the potential partners who pose real threats to our romantic relationships.”
A copy of the full research paper can be downloaded here.