KU Study: Oversharing on Facebook Hurts Relationships

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — If you’re the sort of Facebooker who shares everything that happens to you, be forewarned. New research by psychologists at the University of Kansas say you could be hurting your romantic relationships.

That was the researchers’ conclusion after they performed three separate studies to see how your partner feels when you share on your Facebook wall to your friends.

“You have the expectation of your partner only telling you some of this important information, but then you see that they’re telling the whole world,” Juwon Lee, a doctoral student who conducted the investigation, said in a press release.

The researchers first determined what constituted as “high-disclosure” on Facebook, and then compared those findings with the user’s feelings of lower satisfaction or intimacy in their relationships.

A second study then found that the partners of those folks who share every moment of their lives to their Facebook friends also feel dissatisfied with their relationship quality.

The third study took two mock Facebook walls and asked study participants to imagine they were the Facebook walls of their significant other.  One wall had some activity on it — a few sports and weather mentions.  The other wall was far more active, and showed the user sharing everything from problems with parents and classes to party pictures.

Omri Gillath, associate professor of psychology at KU, said those who were given the wall with a lot of activity felt they had less intimacy with their romantic partner, compared to those who were given the wall with less activity.

“There’s an assumption that as a partner you’re entitled to some kind of privileged information, and that’s why disclosure is so important in our culture,” Lee said in the press release. “So high disclosure leads to lower intimacy and satisfaction.”

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