Saturday, October 02, 2010

Infidelity, Part 2.

A far better study looking at the correlates of infidelity is,

Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. MA Whisman, DK Snyder, Journal of Family Psychology,Vol. 21, No. 2, 147–154.

This was an interesting study based on the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth and involved 4884 women.

It was a study with a twist.

The authors recognised, from previous research, that the response people give at an interview may be influenced by by the method of data acquisition. Namely, people are less likely to give accurate answers with regard to socially questionable activity in a face to face interview compared to an anonymous technique.

For "sensitive" data, the National Survey of Family Growth employs two techniques:
a) A traditional face to face interview.
b) A-CASI method, where the person listens to questions on headphones privately and enters the data into a computer, eliminating any "interviewer" effect.

What the authors did was compare data from the two responses and measured the difference.

Respondents were asked if they had a "secondary" sex partner over the previous 12 months. The study controlled for race, age, education, previous sexual abuse, religiosity, cohabitation and divorce.

Face to face interview revealed an incidence of infidelity of 1.08%
A-CASI interview yielded an incidence of 6.13%, nearly a six times greater increase in infidelity.

In fact, the authors found that when comparing the two techniques, significant differences in response were found with regard to:

1) Educational achievement.
2) Lifetime sexual partners.
3) Premarital cohabitation.
4) Ethnicity.

No differences were observed with regard to:

1) Religion.
2) Remarriage
3) Race.
4) Age
5) Childhood sexual abuse.

To quote the authors;
Thus, the fact that infidelity has been assessed using different methods across different studies may help to explain the inconsistent findings across existing studies. For example, if the current data obtained from the two modes of interview had been reported in two separate studies, three predictors would have been significant in one study but not the other, and the magnitude of the effects for four of the predictors would have been significantly different between the two studies. As such, the present findings regarding significant differences in the magnitude of the association between predictors and infidelity underscore the importance of consistent use of assessment methods across studies if a replicable set of predictors of infidelity is to be identified
And what were the correlates?
(Based on the A-CASI method of data acquisition, table has been modified and data omitted per copyright compliance, any breach is unintentional.)

Religion was scored on a 5 point scale, from never going to church to going to church more than once a week. Education was scored in years with the mean being 13.2 years.

Each additional sexual partner increased the odds of infidelity by 7% while increasing years of education seem to decrease the risk by 10%. Very roughly speaking each addition partner negates the benefit of a year of education with regard to infidelity risk. Yet another study demonstrating the effect of promiscuity on relationship exclusivity/stability.


Anonymous Protestant said...

In addition to promiscuity I see a significant factor is sexual abuse as a child. The divorce culture must contribute to this, as it has been known for decades that such is more likely in stepfamilies. What is worse is the "boyfriend" of the divorced woman is even more likely to sexually abuse her child(ren).

The most loveless of marriages therefore is still less likely to produce children who are unable to form their own stable families. Thus one of the major props of unilateral divorce is cut away.

Allowing divorce for any or no reason at all is clearly more damaging to society than anyone feared in the 1970's. It is worth pointing out that in those days supporters of unilateral divorce kept saying such things as "Well, California has had easy divorce for (2 years, 5 years, 7 years, etc.) and the sky hasn't fallen there". Indeed, in 1976 the sky had not fallen, but it was crumbling. A few years later, and Family Court was created to keep up with all the legal issues unilateral divorce created.

Now we can look back and see how widespread, in both family space and time, the damage is. Divorce hits the children, the parents, the neighbors, and so forth, and the effects last for decades.

Something to contemplate the next time a supporter of homosexual "marriage" smugly claims some country has had this for a few years, and "the sky hasn't fallen", by the way.

The Social Pathologist said...

In addition to promiscuity I see a significant factor is sexual abuse as a child.

Unfortunately I've been involved, in the treatment, of several distressing cases of this sort. Some of the police officers who specialise in sexual abuse crimes have told me that quite a few paedophiles target single mothers in order to get access to their children. In the really bad cases the mother tolerates the abuse just so that she does not end up alone again. Dalrymple has written about the phenomena as well.

Allowing divorce for any or no reason at all is clearly more damaging to society than anyone feared in the 1970's

I agree. Most people are short term orientated. The sexual revolution is only really starting to makes its presence now. Its effects, were for a long time modified by the accumulated social capital that Christianity had established. That capital is now nearly gone and the full effects are beginning to be felt. That's the problem with social engineering. It's all fine initially, which seems to justify the changes, then of course everything goes out of kilter and the average prole wonders why.

No fault divorce is probably the worst social calamity that has befallen Western Society.