You see them while walking down the street, grabbing a coffee and working out at the gym; individuals whose full attention is directed toward their cellphones. Today, it seems like everyone has a cellphone and many belong to one or more social networking websites. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that an estimated “57 percent of all American adults” use Facebook. What’s more the study found that Facebook usage among adults is steadily increasing.

Facebook is a social networking website that people readily use to connect with current and former friends, acquaintances and colleagues. An individual’s Facebook profile and account often provide an intimate view into their lives as many users regularly share status updates, personal opinions and photographs. While Facebook certainly provides a good way to keep in touch with friends, according to new research, it may also drive a wedge between couples.

Findings from the study are published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior and indicate there is a strong correlation between Facebook usage and divorce. Reviewing data from 2008 through 2010, researchers looked at Facebook usage geographically and compared the data against divorce rates in the same regions. Using this information, researchers deducted that a 20 percent increase in Facebook usage corresponded to more than a 2 percent increase in the divorce rate.

This information, coupled with that from a 2011 study which found a strong correlation between heavy social media usage and thoughts about divorce, seem to indicate that Facebook usage is harmful to a marriage. In cases where a husband or wife is relying on Facebook friends for advice, sympathy and companionship; the relationship with a spouse or significant other may suffer.

There are often many factors that contribute to the demise of a marriage and an individual’s decision to file for divorce. Individuals who believe a spouse’s social media usage has escalated to cheating or a general emotional detachment may choose to discuss their options and strategy with a divorce attorney.

Source: Boston Business Journal, “Frequent Facebook use could signal divorce on the way,” Mary Moore, June 3, 2014