London: Social networking sites such as Facebook can help maintain romantic relationships, whether individuals involved are geographically close or in a long-distance relationship, a new study has found.
The study compared the relative importance of social networks and explores the role they play in helping to maintain a close-by versus a long-distance romantic relationship.
Researchers Cherrie Joy Billedo, Peter Kerkhof and Catrin Finkenauer, from the VU University Amsterdam and University of the Philippines, describe differences in the intensity of use and the types of uses of social network sites between the two groups studied.
They report how use of social network sites allows individuals to access information about, and monitor the activities of, romantic partners, and how that can be used to gauge a partner's involvement in the relationship and loyalty, with potentially positive or detrimental effects.
"Social network sites are used more frequently by those in long-distance relationships," said Brenda K Wiederhold, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.
"As long-distance relationships become more common, and continue to succeed, it becomes increasingly valuable to understand the role that technology plays in strengthening or damaging a romantic relationship," said Wiederhold.
The study was published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking.