Social Science

Love Online

Facebook-style hands forming heart shape

Becoming “Facebook official” is a milestone in modern romance, but can it also help love last?

Catalina Toma, a UW assistant professor of communication arts (below), is the first researcher to examine the link between how couples present themselves on the site and the longevity of their relationships.

Catalina Toma


In a study of heterosexual college-aged couples, Toma asked questions about their relationships and how committed they felt to their partners, and then followed up six months later. She found that certain Facebook cues were positively linked to relationship commitment and increased the likelihood of couples staying together: being listed as “in a relationship,” posting photos with their partner, and writing on their partner’s wall.

“The claims people make about themselves in public are likely to be very influential in how we think about ourselves,” Toma says. “Now we’re finding that these self presentations also affect how you feel about a relationship partner.”

Published in the Fall 2015 issue


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