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What predicts cheating in a relationship?

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Study was among young people but I’d be surprised if these weren’t true across the board:

Using a multi-perspective vignette design, we explored predictors of young peoples’ (N=119) propensity to engage in unfaithful activities while dating. Demographic measures, a datding investment model, and measures of functional and dysfunctional impulsivity were used to predict inclination to engage in each of two extradyadic activities (kissing and sexual activity). The results of moderated multiple regression analyses revealed that a respondent’s number of sexual partners, level of dysfunctional impulsivity, satisfaction with current relationship, and quality of relationship alternatives significantly predicted inclination to engage in both of the extradyadic activities. Consistent with previous findings, gender only showed significant predictive value in relation to extradyadic sex inclination. Moreover, the association between sex, love, and marriage interacted with gender in the prediction of both extradyadic activities and interacted with commitment in the prediction of extradyadic sex inclination. Suggestions for future research in this area are offered in light of these new findings.

Source:”Predictors of young dating adults’ inclination to engage in extradyadic sexual activities: A multi-perspective study” from British Journal of Psychology, Volume 96, Number 3, August 2005 , pp. 331-350(20)

In other words: predilection, impulsivity, context and options. We like to think of deciding to cheat as this unique and momentous decision, but it appears it’s subject to the same type of evaluation we make in so many more trivial areas of our lives.

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About Eric Barker