And yet another idiot study – this time about Facebook damaging relationships

The use of Facebook is spawning a great deal of idiot research.

Facebook is providing a fertile hunting ground for simplistic “researchby a new breed of “researchers”. Social psychology is still just a discipline and has yet to reach the level of a “science”. But I note that surveys of Facebook users is multiplying and seems to have  become a new field of social psychology. The surveys are easily done, usually include a sample size of just a few hundred (small enough to access on a University campus or in a town square) and draw fanciful conclusions to capture the headlines. They provide an easy way to publication. Such “Facebook research” is not “bad science” – if even “science” at all – but much of it is trivial and just provides a quick, cheap way of getting published.

And here comes another idiot “survey” described in this press release (a press release for this?) from the University of Missouri:

good grief

Excessive Facebook Use Can Damage Relationships, MU Study Finds

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. Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

In their study, Clayton, along with Alexander Nagurney, an instructor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Jessica R. Smith, a doctoral student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, surveyed Facebook users ages 18 to 82 years old. Participants were asked to describe how often they used Facebook and how much, if any, conflict arose between their current or former partners as a result of Facebook use. The researchers found that high levels of Facebook use among couples significantly predicted Facebook-related conflict, which then significantly predicted negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup, and divorce. ..

 …… “Although Facebook is a great way to learn about someone, excessive Facebook use may be damaging to newer romantic relationships,” Clayton said. “Cutting back to moderate, healthy levels of Facebook usage could help reduce conflict, particularly for newer couples who are still learning about each other.”

This study is forthcoming in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

“Good Grief”!

Peer reviewed no doubt.

The insight this provides into relationships and behaviour is not less than profound.

(I must be feeling a little crabby this morning – I need to cut the grass!).


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