If you’re an Arkansas resident in a troubled marriage and casting about for answers as to what might be contributing to your marital woes, you might want to pose and answer this internal question: Is your face buried in an online social media site?

If so, is it Facebook?

Concededly, heavy and regular use of social networking sites online is not a regular alarm-bell ringer for people wondering why they seem to be edging closer to divorce. Researchers who have closely studied the effects of heavy participation on such sites say, though, that there is a discernible tie between their use and the likelihood of marital problems and, ultimately, divorce.

In fact, researches at the Rutgers University-based Center for Mobile Communications Studies say that heavy engagement with Facebook is “a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate and spousal troubles” across the country.

Professor James E. Katz and fellow researchers culled both national data and more individualized information in their attempt to better understand what they perceived as an evident link between online habits and, for some people, marital difficulties.

After examining that data, they are convinced that the link is strong and that marriage for many people across the country is facing a very real threat from a “growing enthrallment with social media.”

That certainly makes sense in instances where one spouse shuts the bedroom door and spends hours engaging with new people online rather than communicating with his or her partner. It makes even more sense in cases where both partners are participating at a high-level of marital alienation through that same activity.

Katz and his team hope that their findings will shed some necessary light on the implications of heavy online use in select marriages.

Source: BU Today, “Could Facebook end a marriage?” Amy Laskowski, June 2, 2014