A newly released study pits two beloved institutions against each other: social media -- specifically, Facebook -- and divorce.
The study appears in the July 2014 edition of the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Researchers analyzed the relationship between social media platforms, marriage satisfaction, and divorce, discovering that "Facebook penetration" is associated with "increasing divorce rates."
Facebook has certainly never been of great help to troubled couples, but is social media use really associated with divorce?
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Does Facebook Use Correlate With Divorce?
The authors of this new study looked at both "Facebook penetration" and divorce rates in order to see if there was a correlation. The former value was derived from the raw amount of Facebook accounts in any particular state, divided by the total population of that state. A less suggestive term might have been "Facebook accounts per capita."
Comparing these factors, the study found that a 20 percent growth in Facebook users in a state correlated with a 2 to 4 percent increase in the divorce rate. While this may seem small, the authors believe the Facebook factor is a statistically significant determinant for divorce.
However, this comes with the caveat that there may not be a cause-and-effect relationship between Facebook use and divorce. Rather, increased Facebook use may simply be a more common habit of those who are already unhappy in their marriages.
Divorce and Facebook Don't Have to Go Hand-in-Hand
Even if Facebook use does, in some small way, tend to lead couples to divorce, all couples should remember the following:
- Anything you post on Facebook can potentially be used as evidence in a divorce or custody case.
- You may want to consider a social media prenup which may legally regulate you or your spouse's Facebook use.
- If you feel like Facebook is going to hurt your relationship, just close your account (duh).
Facebook use may be a big part of your life, but you don't want it to jeopardize your love life. So given the results of this study, use Facebook at your marriage's own risk.
- Study: Facebook affects divorce rates, marital satisfaction (Washington, D.C.'s WTOP Radio)
- Facebook to Blame for 1 in 5 Divorces, Lawyers Say (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- 5 Rules for Social Media Use During Divorce (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Facebook Divorce (FindLaw)