A recent study co-authored by a St. Mary's University student shows Facebook can lead to relationship problems like cheating, breakups or even divorce.

When Jessie Smith was working on her master's degree at Texas State University, she and her friends noticed Facebook was causing problems with friends and their relationships.

They decided to study the issue.

An online survey posed 16 questions about Facebook use and conflicts that resulted.

The research paper -- called "Cheating, Breakup and Divorce, is Facebook To Blame?" -- was recently published online in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

"The more likely you are to use Facebook, the more likely you are to run into conflict because of that Facebook use and that conflict itself was what leads to the negative relationship outcomes," said Smith.

The study found newer relationships of three years or less were most vulnerable, but any relationship is at risk.

Smith's advice is to talk to your partner about Facebook use.

"I really think it's a matter of setting boundaries and setting the limits and sticking to it," said Smith.

Smith said she's now working with a St Mary's University professor on a new study which looks at how Facebook might positively impact a relationship.

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