Is there a correlation between Facebook use and divorce?

If someone told you that excessive use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter can end a relationship, then you might be inclined to believe it. That’s because it’s relatively plausible. Using Facebook interferes with face-to-face interactions, therefore decreasing chances to resolve relationship issues. It can also be used as a way of cheating on your spouse or escaping from the unpleasantness of real life.

But is there a direct correlation between Facebook use and divorce? Depending on the study, the answer can range from a solid yes to a vague maybe. Such was the case with a study that was published in the July 2013 edition of Computers in Human Behavior.

Although the study noticed an uptick in the divorce rate after seeing an increase in Facebook use, researchers were unable to find a causal link between the two. That’s because the study could not identify who was using or creating the accounts nor could it establish that these users were getting divorced.

So what did the study find?

After looking at survey information of people across the country, researchers did find a “weak relationship” between social media use and happiness in a relationship. Those who spent more time using social media admitted to being less happy with their relationships than those who spent less time on such sites. It’s worth pointing out though that there are a number of factors that could be at play here, which is why researchers called the link weak at best.

What this study does highlight is that there is never just one thing can be blamed for the dissolution of a marriage. Much like the divorce process itself, relationships are complex and there are a number of factors that can lead couples to a divorce. And although social media use may not be the only reason, it can be a factor for some.

Source: TIME, “Don’t Blame Facebook For Your Divorce,” Eliana Dockterman, July 21, 2014