PSY320H1 Lecture Notes - Sociosexual Orientation, Longitudinal Study, Advantageous

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
School
UTSG
Department
Psychology
Course
PSY320H1
Professor
Running head: EFFCTS OF RELATIONSHIP PUBLICITY ON INFIDELITY AND COMMITMENT 1
Perceived Publicity of Romantic Relationships: Effects on Attitudes towards
Infidelity, Probability of Engaging in Infidelity, and Commitment.
Date submitted: 18/03/2013
PSY320H5 Attitudes
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EFFCTS OF RELATIONSHIP PUBLICITY ON INFIDELITY AND COMMITMENT 2
INTRODUCTION
Infidelity is commonly defined as any sexual or emotional ties that an individual has
outside of a romantic relationship where both partners have agreed to remain exclusive to each
other. In the literature, it is also referred to as extradyadic involvement. Extradyadic involvement
(EDI) appears to be a fairly common problem in today’s society; some studies have found that up
to 60% of men and 50% of women have been unfaithful to their partner at some point in their
serious relationship or marriage (Hackathorn, Mattingly, Clark, & Mattingly, 2011). Even though
extradyadic involvement seems to be increasingly more prevalent, it does not seem to be
perceived as acceptable by a majority of people (Sampat, 2005). It is important to understand
predictors of dating infidelity because it can lead to jealousy, low self-esteem and in some cases
to dissolution of the relationship. Understanding predictors for dating and marriage infidelity can
help marriage and relationship counsellors better serve their clients.
A person’s attitude towards infidelity can be an important predictor of their probability of
having an EDI. A major complication in measuring individuals’ attitudes about infidelity is that
its definition varies from person to person. For example, one person may view ambiguous acts
such as going to see a movie with an extradyadic partner as infidelity while others will not.
However, people generally agree that explicit flirting and fantasizing about and having sexual
relationships with extradyadic partners are more concrete forms of infidelity (Hackathorn et al,
2011). Extradyadic permissiveness (an accepting attitude towards EDI) has been found to be the
best predictor of infidelity, but for males more so than for females (Oikle, 2002; Sheppard,
Nelson & Andreoli-Mathie, 1995). Sociosexual orientation- which is defined as an individual’s
willingness to participate in non-committed sexual interactions- also seems to be a consistent
predictor; People who have a permissive sociosexual orientation are more likely to engage in
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EFFCTS OF RELATIONSHIP PUBLICITY ON INFIDELITY AND COMMITMENT 3
infidelity (Hackathorn et al, 2011). It is not very surprising that low relationship satisfaction and
commitment are also linked to increased unfaithfulness. In a longitudinal study, Jennifer Oikle
(2002) found that individuals who reported lower relationship commitment and who had more
permissive attitudes towards EDI at Time 1 were more likely to be unfaithful to their partner at
Time 2. Other studies have found that people who cheat do so regardless of the level of
satisfaction in their relationship, but they’re less likely to cheat if they have felt committed to the
relationship for a long time (Dabrowski, 2009).
Interestingly, no previous research has explored the effect of relationship publicity on
cheating behavior, satisfaction and commitment. Relationship publicity can be defined as the
extent to which individuals acknowledge to others that they’re in a relationship with someone.
For example, listing your relationship status on Facebook as “in a relationship with (partner
name)” can be considered making a relationship public. Relationship publicity could affect how
individuals perceive their relationship, as well as their attitudes about cheating and level of
commitment in the relationship. In light of the concept of social desirability, it is likely that
having a more public and committed relationship reduces cheating behavior and increases
negative attitude towards cheating, in an attempt to be seen positively by others.
The present study will explore individuals’ attitudes towards 3 types of infidelity-
ambiguous, explicit and implicit infidelity- before and after their relationship has experienced an
increase in publicity. Perception of ambiguous infidelity varies greatly from person to person.
These are behaviors such hugging/cuddling, excessive texting/chatting with and going to see a
movie with an extradyadic partner (Hackathorn et al, 2011). Explicit infidelity constitutes
engaging in sexual relations such as kissing, petting, and intercourse with someone other than the
exclusive partner (Hackathorn et al, 2011). Implicit infidelity can be defined as a prelude to
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Document Summary

Running head: effcts of relationship publicity on infidelity and commitment 1. Perceived publicity of romantic relationships: effects on attitudes towards. Infidelity, probability of engaging in infidelity, and commitment. Infidelity is commonly defined as any sexual or emotional ties that an individual has outside of a romantic relationship where both partners have agreed to remain exclusive to each other. In the literature, it is also referred to as extradyadic involvement. Even though extradyadic involvement seems to be increasingly more prevalent, it does not seem to be perceived as acceptable by a majority of people (sampat, 2005). It is important to understand predictors of dating infidelity because it can lead to jealousy, low self-esteem and in some cases to dissolution of the relationship. Understanding predictors for dating and marriage infidelity can help marriage and relationship counsellors better serve their clients. A person"s attitude towards infidelity can be an important predictor of their probability of having an edi.

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