Twitter use a romance killer, new study finds

A study finds high-level Twitter usage is linked to 'negative relationship outcomes'. Photo / Thinkstock
A study finds high-level Twitter usage is linked to 'negative relationship outcomes'. Photo / Thinkstock

Heavy Twitter use can lead to conflicts and other damaging effects on marriages and romantic relationships, new research shows.

The study followed up on research which showed similar impacts for Facebook, and raises questions about whether social network use in general is bad for relationships.

Appearing in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, the study found that "active Twitter use leads to more Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, break-up and divorce."

The author, University of Missouri doctoral researcher Russell Clayton, found the results added to evidence about the dark side of social network use for personal relationships.

Clayton's research on Facebook published in the same journal last year found a high level of usage was associated with "negative relationship outcomes".

The journal's editor, Brenda Wiederhold, said the findings highlighted the need for more study.

"Since much of the social networking research is in its infancy we don't know if other media, such as Instagram, will also impact relationships in a negative way."

The latest study surveyed 581 adult Twitter users, asking how often they used the social network and what conflicts arose between participants' present or former partners as a result of Twitter use.

Clayton found the more often a respondent reported being active on Twitter, the more likely they were to experience Twitter-related conflict with a partner.

The results "partially replicate" the results of his earlier research on Facebook, Clayton wrote. "Based on the findings from both studies, Twitter and Facebook use can have damaging effects on romantic relationships. When [social networking] use becomes problematic in one's romantic relationship, risk of negative relationship outcomes may follow."


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