Gender affects perceptions of infidelity

October 29, 2008

Nottingham, England - October 29, 2008 - A new study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy explored how men and women perceive online and offline sexual and emotional infidelity. Results show that men felt sexual infidelity was more upsetting and women felt emotional infidelity was more upsetting.

Monica T. Whitty and Laura-Lee Quigley of Queen's University Belfast surveyed 112 undergraduate students and asked them questions about sexual and emotional infidelity both offline and on the internet.

When given the choice, men were more upset by sexual infidelity and women were more upset by emotional infidelity.

Additionally, "men were more likely to believe that women have sex when in love and that women believe that men have sex even when they are not in love. It was not, however found that either men or women believe that having cybersex implied the other was also in love or that being in love online implied they were having cybersex."

"Given the newness of the internet, the rules have still not been clearly defined as to what are acceptable online encounters," the authors note. "Our results support a social-cognitive model as they demonstrate that social shifts have led men and women to think differently about sex and love."
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This study is published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Monica T. Whitty is affiliated with Nottingham Trent University and can be reached for questions at monica.whitty@ntu.ac.uk.

The Journal of Marital & Family Therapy (JMFT) is published quarterly by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and, with over 20,000 subscribers, is the best known and most influential family therapy journal in the world.

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.wiley-blackwell.com or http://interscience.wiley.com.

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