A new study has revealed that, remaining friends with an ex-lover or even just following their activities online through Facebook can disrupt a person's ability to heal emotionally and move on with his or her life.
The study assessed the effects of continued Facebook contact with an ex-partner and of Facebook surveillance, in which there is no actual online contact, but one individual monitors the Facebook page and postings of another.
The study collected data from 464 participants to evaluate their Facebook usage and their emotional recovery and personal adjustment following the breakup of a romantic relationship.
It evaluated parameters such as negative feelings, sexual desire and emotional longing for the ex-partner, and feelings of reduced personal growth as measures of distress and the ability to move forward with their lives.
"This study sees again virtual life mirroring real life. Just as real life contact with ex-partners may inhibit growth, healing, and well-being, so may virtual contact," Brenda K. Wiederhold, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA, said.
The study has been published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.