Facebook Users in Romantic Relationships Use Social Media to Spy on Partners, Study


Facebook users in romantic relationships are more likely to use the social networking site to post couple photos and affectionate comments on their partner's wall, according to a new study by Albright College.

The researchers said that the site is also increasingly used by love birds to boast about their relationship and keep a tab on their partner's activities.

Individuals high in Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (RCSE) - an unhealthy form of self-esteem that depends on the outcome of one's relationship status - are also more likely to engage in such activities. These people face a big blow to their self-esteem than those with lower levels of RCSE.

"These results suggest that those high in RCSE feel a need to show others, their partners and perhaps themselves that their relationship is 'OK' and, thus, they are OK," said assistant professor of psychology Gwendolyn Seidman in a statement.

For the study, the researchers surveyed users with romantic relationships about their Facebook behaviors and motivations. The participants were also measured against the Big Five personality traits - openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The researchers found that neurotics are more likely to use Facebook to monitor their partner and to brag about their relationship. A neurotic person uses the social networking site to reduce their fears of rejection and anxiety within the relationship.

"This is what we expected, given that neurotic individuals are generally more jealous in their romantic relationships," said Seidman.

The study also sprung up certain surprises. Extraverts, who are active users and have more Facebook friends, are less likely to keep a close watch on their partners or write affectionate posts. Introverts, however, are more likely to post affectionate content and spy on their partners.

A 2013 University of Michigan study found that Facebook use affects one's mood significantly.

"We were able to show on a moment-to-moment basis throughout the day how people's mood fluctuated depending on their Facebook usage," said UM social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the study, in a press release.

Previous studies showed that social media can affect individuals with low self-esteem when they try to edit their online image. It also triggers jealousy when viewing others' activity online.

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