Couples who send public messages of love and affection to each other on Facebook have stronger relationships, a new study claims.
University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Catalina Toma tracked the online behaviour of 212 university-age people in heterosexual relationships for six months. She then asked them a series of questions about their relationship satisfaction.
Dr Toma found that those who engaged in activities such as regularly posting photos together and writing on each other’s Facebook walls were more likely to still be together after six months. She said that the results indicated that “claims people make about themselves in public are likely to be very influential in how they think about themselves”.
Claims people make about their relationship online are “very meaningful psychologically”, she added.
Such declarations of affection have a similar psychological effect to other kinds of declarations people make, Dr Toma explained. She cited the example of marriage:
“People declare their love, they make vows in front of friends and family, they take photographs, and they exchange rings.”
In an interview with Wired, Dr Toma admitted that her research did not account for “what’s happening with couples who don’t use Facebook, and whether the decision to NOT use Facebook affects their relationship.”
The study was published in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
Photo by Master OSM 2001 via Flickr