Twitter use linked to infidelity and divorce, study finds

Apr 07, 2014
Twitter logo

Twitter and other social networking services have revolutionized the way people create and maintain relationships. However, new research shows that Twitter use could actually be damaging to users' romantic relationships. Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that active Twitter users are far more likely to experience Twitter–related conflict with their romantic partners. Clayton's results showed that Twitter-related conflict then leads to negative relationship outcomes, including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

In his study, Clayton surveyed 581 Twitter users of all ages. Clayton asked participants questions about their Twitter use such as how often they login in to Twitter, tweet, scroll the Twitter newsfeed, send direct messages to others, and reply to followers. Clayton also asked how much, if any, conflict arose between participants' current or former partners as a result of Twitter use. For example, Clayton asked: "How often do you have an argument with your current or former partner because of too much Twitter use?" Clayton found that the more often a respondent reported being active on Twitter, the more likely they were to experience Twitter-related conflict with their partner, which then significantly predicted outcomes such as cheating, breakup and divorce.

"The aim of this study was to examine whether the findings of Claytons' recent study, which concluded that Facebook use predicted Facebook-related conflict, which then led to breakup and divorce were consistent with another social networking site platform: Twitter."

In his previous research on Facebook, Clayton found that Facebook-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes were greater among couples in newer relationships of 36 months or less. In his new research regarding Twitter, Clayton found these outcomes occurred regardless of duration of relationship.

"I found it interesting that active Twitter users experienced Twitter-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes regardless of length of romantic relationship," Clayton said. "Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships."

If Twitter users are experiencing Twitter-related conflict with their partner, Clayton recommends couples of all ages limit their daily and weekly use of to more healthy, reasonable levels.

"Although a number of variables can contribute to relationship infidelity and separation, social networking site usage, such as Twitter and Facebook use, can be damaging to relationships," Clayton said. "Therefore, users should cut back to moderate, healthy levels of Twitter use if they are experiencing Twitter or Facebook – related conflict. Some couples share joint social networking site accounts to reduce relationship , and there are some site apps, such as the 2Life app, that facilitates interpersonal communication between partners."

Explore further: Twitter ramps up photo sharing features

More information: Clayton's study, "The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce," was published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. A full copy of the study can be viewed here: dx.doi.org/10.1089/yber.2013.0570

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Excessive Facebook use can damage relationships, study finds

Jun 06, 2013

Facebook and other social networking web sites have revolutionized the way people create and maintain relationships. However, new research shows that Facebook use could actually be damaging to users' romantic relationships. ...

Twitter desktop website gets mobile look

Jan 14, 2014

Twitter revamped its desktop webpages Monday to better mirror the experience of visiting the popular one-to-many text messaging service on smartphones.

Twitter developing e-commerce service

Feb 01, 2014

Twitter is exploring ways to sell products directly from the 140-character missives the one-to-many text messaging service site is famous for, a technology news site has reported.

Recommended for you

T-Mobile deal helps Rhapsody hit 2M paying subs

16 hours ago

(AP)—Rhapsody International Inc. said Tuesday its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April.

Airbnb woos business travelers

16 hours ago

Airbnb on Monday set out to woo business travelers to its service that lets people turn unused rooms in homes into de facto hotel space.

User comments : 0