Love and marriage may go together but so do Facebook and divorce, that's according to a study based on Texas couples. The University of Boston analyzed figures from a University of Texas survey. 1,160 married couples aged 18-39 were polled with questions designed to measure the quality of their romantic relationships.
Researchers noticed that the more the spouses used social media, the more likely they were to say they thought about the Big D, and we don't mean Dallas.
To conduct their study, the team first looked at data from married individuals collected between 2008 and 2010, according to Boston University. They compared divorce rates across 43 states with Facebook penetration-the number of Facebook accounts in each state-divided by the total population.
They found that a 20 percent increase in Facebook users in a state could be linked to a 2.18 percent growth in the divorce rate. The Texas numbers specifically showed that in non social media couples just 16 percent contemplated divorce. In couples that used social media that number was up to 32 percent.
"The apparent association between the use of Facebook and other social networking sites and divorce and marital unhappiness in the United States raises troubling questions not only about how we use these tools, but how their use affects marriage," said James E. Katz, Professor of Emerging Media Studies at Boston University.
"The institution of marriage, already under siege in many quarters, seems to be facing yet further assault from people's growing enthrallment with social media." Katz said. Researchers admit their findings are merely a correlation at this point with no element of causation actually proven (it could just be that the only people not on Facebook are in their 90s and too far along in their marriage to think about divorce now) but the authors say it is definitely time to take stock of our social media usage.
Or we could find ourselves having to update our relationship status some time soon.