Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Social network sites such as Facebook play an important role in maintaining relationships, including romantic relationships, whether individuals are involved in a geographically close or long-distance romantic relationship. A new study that compares 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 is published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

In the article "The Use of Social Network Sites for Relationship Maintenance in Long-Distance and Geographically-Close Romantic Relationships," coauthors Cherrie Joy Billedo, Peter Kerkhof, and Catrin Finkenauer, 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, , 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," says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, 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 ."