Warning: Twitter may be hazardous to your intimate relationships.

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Heavy Twitter usage warning sign for potential relationship problems, says study

A new study finds that the more active an individual was on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), the higher the likelihood they reported “Twitter-related” conflicts in their romantic life.  Such conflicts could be a warning flag, as they can trigger everything from emotional and physical cheating to breakup and divorce, claims the study.

In his study, Researcher Russell Clayton surveyed 581 Twitter users of all ages, asking participants about their Twitter use: tweet, scroll the Twitter newsfeed, send direct messages to others, and reply to followers. Clayton then linked this to how much conflict arose inside relationships. The research showed that the more often a respondent reported being active on Twitter, the more likely they were to experience Twitter-related relationship conflict, which then “significantly predicted negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup and divorce.”

A part of Clayton’s goal with the research was to confirm a previous study that showed excessive Facebook usage also led to relationship issues.  In his previous research on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Clayton found that Facebook-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes were greater among couples in newer relationships of 36 months or less. In his new research regarding Twitter, Clayton found these outcomes occurred regardless of duration of relationship.

Twitter negative regardless of relationship length

“I found it interesting that active Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) users experienced Twitter-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes regardless of length of romantic relationship,” Clayton said in a statement. “Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships.”

If Twitter users are experiencing Twitter-related conflict with their partner, Clayton recommends couples of all ages limit their daily and weekly use of social networking sites to more healthy, reasonable levels.

“Although a number of variables can contribute to relationship infidelity and separation, social networking site usage, such as Twitter and Facebook use, can be damaging to relationships,” Clayton said. “Therefore, users should cut back to moderate, healthy levels of Twitter use if they are experiencing Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) or Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) – related conflict. Some couples share joint social networking site accounts to reduce relationship conflict, and there are some social networking site apps, such as the 2Life app, that facilitates interpersonal communication between partners.”

When asked if he had personal experience using social media that damaged one of his relationships, University of Missouri School of Journalism doctoral candidate said he did not have such issues.  He wouldn’t be alone in having troubles when a former relationship started posting to Facebook or Twitter, upsetting a current relationship.