Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Anabel Quan-Haase


Little research examines the ways in which Facebook affects breakups. This exploratory study aimed to determine the prevalence of breakup practices unique to Facebook; to gain an understanding of the relationship between Facebook use and distress following a breakup; and to determine what strategies people use to cope with romantic breakups in the Facebook era. This topic was examined using a mixed methods approach that included a survey and semi-structured interviews. Findings show that content on Facebook can be a source of distress for individuals who have recently experienced a romantic breakup. People who engaged in high levels of interpersonal electronic surveillance experienced more breakup distress and Facebook breakup distress than people who did not. Coping mechanisms for dealing with distress caused by content on Facebook following a breakup are complex, as many coping mechanisms can create new distressing situations.