Love thy neighbour: Personality traits, relationship quality, and attraction to others as predictors of infidelity among young adults

Kirstian A.V. Gibson, Ashley E. Thompson, Lucia F. O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infidelity is defined as the violation of a couple's assumed or stated agreement concerning emotional and/or sexual exclusivity. The current study examined the utility of personality traits (i.e., the Big Five and SIS/SES - an individual's sexual response to sexual desires, arousal, and behaviours are based on the balance between sexual excitation and sexual inhibition; Bancroft & Janssen, 2000) relative to relationship quality and attraction to others in predicting reports of infidelity among a sample of young adults (ages 18-26 years). A total of 131 men and 164 women from the US who reported being in a romantic relationship were recruited using MTurk®, an online crowdsourcing survey tool. Participants completed a series of measures assessing demographics, relationship quality and investment, sexual experience, sexual attitudes, attraction to others, and personality traits, including the Big Five and SIS/SES. A notable minority (16.6%) of participants reported at least one occasion of past infidelity during their current romantic relationship (yes/no reports); however, reports of infidelity increased significantly when individuals reported actual sexual, romantic, and online infidelity activities (78.6%). Personality traits within the Big Five and SIS/SES models were not significant predictors of infidelity. With each occurrence of emotional attraction to a person other than their current partner, the odds of reporting infidelity increased by 51.6%. The findings are discussed in terms of implications for counselling and education regarding infidelity, as well as continued research on risk factors for infidelity among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Attraction
  • Infidelity
  • Personality traits
  • Relationship quality
  • Young adults

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