The more time college students spend on Facebook, the more likely they are to feel jealous toward their romantic partners, leading to more time on Facebook searching for additional information that will further fuel their jealousy, in an escalating cycle that may become addictive, according to a study reported in CyberPsychology & Behavior.
Amy Muise, MSc, Emily Christofides, MSc, and Serge Desmarais, PhD, from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), surveyed young adults involved in romantic relationships and found that those who spent time on social networking sites such as Facebook may be exposed to information about their partners that makes them jealous, leading them to spend more time involved in online surveillance and to uncover even more jealousy-provoking information.
The article describes a vicious cycle in which Facebook usage and feelings of jealousy become intertwined and have a negative influence on behavior and relationships. Some participants in the study described their increasing use of Facebook as "addictive." The authors recommend further research to explore this feedback loop and to determine whether a similar relationship between online social networking and jealousy toward a partner affects older adults as well.
"This research on university age individuals is an excellent starting point to begin asking additional questions on how this new forum might be impacting the dynamics of adult relationships and other social processes," says Professor Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, Editor-in-Chief of CyberPsychology & Behavior.
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