Many studies have concluded social networking sites hurt a person’s self-esteem, create insecurities in relationships and contribute to feelings of inadequacy. Now there's one that suggests sites like Facebook might actually be linked to divorce.
The study published in the July issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior Study correlates the number of Facebook accounts in a state with the divorce rate.
“Although it may seem surprising that a Facebook profile, a relatively small factor compared with other drivers of human behavior, could have a significant statistical relationship with divorce rates and marital satisfaction, it nonetheless seems to be the case,” the study concluded.
Facebook allows one to pry into a curated version of someone’s life, showing the person's best side. It’s too easy to compare that to reality, and perhaps nudge users to look for something different in their own lives.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports 81 percent of its attorneys found an increase in divorce cases as a result of social networking site use. Facebook may make it easier to cheat, but also makes it easier to get caught.
The study compared the divorce rates of 43 states with the number of Facebook accounts opened in each state but did not consider the actual time spent on Facebook. The study does not imply causation and was unable to determine which came first: Facebook or divorce.
“We don’t know whether Facebook is causing divorce or divorce is causing the use of Facebook,” Sebastián Valenzuela, co-author of the study and assistant professor in the School of Communications at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile told MarketWatch.
If some new Facebook users aren't careful, they may be changing their relationship status to "single" very soon.