• Amy Laskowski

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    Amy Laskowski

    Amy Laskowski graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a degree in English, and earned a master’s in journalism at the College of Communication in 2015. She helps edit the work of BU Today’s interns and is always hunting for interesting, quirky stories around BU. Profile

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There are 14 comments on Could Facebook Use End a Marriage?

    1. The study isn’t identifying a causal relationship between Facebook use and unhappy marriages. In the study, the researchers note that it’s still unclear whether FB use leads to unhappy marriages, or whether people unhappy in their marriage spend more time on Facebook.

      1. Amy, the first sentence in your article very clearly claims a causal relationship: “It turns out that spending countless hours talking to friends in front of a screen can negatively affect your most important relationship—the one with your spouse.”

        Don’t you think that’s irresponsible?

        1. Ouch – yeah, that’s a pretty clear claim of causality. And in light of the fact that the researchers themselves cautioned against drawing that sort of conclusion – a fact mentioned in the story itself – perhaps that lead should be rewritten.

  1. This kind of article / study makes me crazy. Too shallow. Too generalized. Too much assignment of cause when it is more likely just part of an array of symptoms.

    Most likely folks are already unhappy in their marriage and then complain about it on FB or use FB to find other people. They would probably have divorced anyway. Accelerating the process and communication doesn’t change the outcome.

    If you live in a small town, get married, are unhappy but have no other choices, you stay with it. If you live in the city and there are other choices, you are much more likely to make a change out of your unhappy marriage because there is somewhere else to go. FB just brings ‘the city’ to everyone.

    And what about people choosing more carefully what they say on FB? Being more concious of how and what they communicate with everyone?

    I’m married, happy, and both my husband and I use FB extensively. We say nice things to each other and about each other. Write each other love notes. We get support and approval from our friends for our happy relationship. It is very empowering. We also talk about our different and mutual friends and reading on FB to each other in person. We post things to each other and look over each other’s shoulders to see things. It is very enriching for us and our relationship.

    It isn’t FB or other social media’s fault if people behave poorly or dysfunctionally online. They do it in person too. Having it written down and witnessed by more people is just a magnifying glass. People choose to be honest or dishonest, to complain or complement, to talk negative or positive messages.

    Social media can be fabulous and so can your relationships with mates and friends. FB doesn’t tell you what to write or how to behave.

    1. The article claims causality in its headline. Whether this is poor judgement on the part of the journalist who wrote it or a deliberate attempt at creating a sensational headline, I do not know. I do know it’s lousy journalism.

      Bjorn Eraker
      Associate Professor,
      Univ. of Wisconsin

    2. It’s only friggin common sense! Not rocket science to figure it out!!! You people who spend countless hours hours on Facebook are addicts.. And don’t want to admit to it . If you gave that time and attention to the one you love ….your relationship would be better don’t you think.

  2. Lillith, there is no need to be defensive. This study does not identify a causal relationship between Facebook usage and marital (dis)satisfaction. This study simply shares the fact that a statistically significant relationship exists between Facebook usage and marital dissatisfaction, which in my opinion, is not something to be ignored. As the article suggests, further research is necessary to explore the reasons for the existence of this statistically significant relationship.

  3. It would be helpful to extend this study using data or metrics provided by Facebook. Or perhaps find a way to determine what is the divorce rate for people that do not have a Facebook account?

  4. Yes, this is the problem with invoking theory after the fact. The researchers might now the difference between correlation and causality (though some of their comments as sketchy as well) but writers/journalists and much of the general population do not. The causal relationship side of this story is all over the web already.

    Our own research shows that (as theory would predict) Facebook-using couples report greater relational satisfaction as the overlap in their friendship network increases. Not a surprise but probably won’t generate the headlines that “Facebook causes divorce” will.

  5. If 16% of nonusers think about leaving their spouse, and 32% of heavy users think about it, then heavy users are actually TWICE as likely to think about leaving their spouse.

  6. […] States. From 2008–2010, a 20-percent rise in a state’s Facebook users was associated with a 2-percent increase in the divorce rate in that state. When these researchers analyzed the effect of social media usage […]

  7. […] recent study from Boston University revealed that non-social network users were 11.4% happier in their marriages than couples who […]

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