Your Cheating Heart

Extradyadic sexual interactions are a leading cause of relationship strife and break-ups and are known to cause extreme distress for adolescents. Given the rapid uptake of communication technologies among adolescents, the current study was designed to examine the role of online sexual activities and technology use on adolescents’ reports of extradyadic kissing, that is, both romantically kissing another partner while in a relationship (“cheating”) and romantically kissing a person known to be in a relationship with someone else (“poaching”).  In a study recently published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, online surveys were collected from 268 male and female adolescents (15–19 years of age). One-fifth (21%) of participants reported extradyadic kissing, and one-quarter (26%) reported romantically kissing someone who they knew was in a relationship with someone else. Sensation seeking emerged as a key personality trait relating to higher odds of both types of extradyadic interactions for male and female participants. A history of having sent an explicit sexual photo was associated with far greater odds of poaching behaviours, especially for boys. Engaging in online sex chat dramatically increased girls’ odds (but not boys’ odds) of reporting cheating and poaching interactions. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for adolescents’ psychological and relational health and for work on relationship skills development.

For the abstract

           

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