Social network members' responses to friends' breakup false alarms

Charee M. Thompson, Lynsey K. Romo, Patience Ben-Israel, Marissa Owens, Senoumou Keita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social networks influence romantic relationships through friends' support or lack of support of the union. However, the consequences of friends repeatedly telling other friends their relationship was going to end but failing to actually terminate the relationship are unclear. Guided by the false alarm effect (FAE), and data from both student (N = 273) and noncollege (N = 226) samples, it was found that breakup false alarms were associated with increases in both positive and negative responses. In addition, when participants were friends with both partners, breakup false alarms were associated with “feeling caught” between the friends. Findings generally support the FAE and paint a complex picture of how social network members react to their close friends' tumultuous relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-428
Number of pages23
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • breakups
  • romantic relationships
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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