Cheating, breakup, and divorce: is Facebook use to blame?

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Oct;16(10):717-20. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0424. Epub 2013 Jun 7.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between using the social networking site known as Facebook and negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. A survey of 205 Facebook users aged 18-82 was conducted using a 16-question online survey to examine whether high levels of Facebook use predicted negative relationship outcomes (breakup/divorce, emotional cheating, and physical cheating). It was hypothesized that those with higher levels of Facebook use would demonstrate more negative relationship outcomes than those with lower use. The study then examined whether these relationships were mediated by Facebook-related conflict. Furthermore, the researchers examined length of relationship as a moderator variable in the aforementioned model. The results indicate that a high level of Facebook usage is associated with negative relationship outcomes, and that these relationships are indeed mediated by Facebook-related conflict. This series of relationships only holds for those who are, or have been, in relatively newer relationships of 3 years or less. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating Internet use and relationship outcomes, and may be a precursor to further research investigating whether Facebook use attributes to the divorce rate, emotional cheating, and physical cheating.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Data Collection
  • Divorce / psychology
  • Divorce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Extramarital Relations* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Marriage / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Media* / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult