Men with performance anxiety and who like to take risks are most likely to cheat, a study finds.
Women, though, tend to cheat if they are dissatisfied with the relationship.
The standard of a man’s relationship does not have much effect on whether he cheats.
Instead, it is a man’s personality that is especially important in whether or not he cheats.
The study supports the stereotype that men who are cheaters will continue to cheat, whatever kind of relationship they are in.
Risk-takers tend to be impulsive and can have problems controlling themselves.
Gambling, drug-taking and aggressive behaviour can all be signs of someone who is a risk-taker.
Cheating is one more way for this type of man to find excitement.
The pattern is different among women, where unhappiness in their current relationship predicts cheating.
In fact, women who are dissatisfied with their relationship were twice as likely to cheat on their partner than those who were satisfied.
The study included almost one thousand men and women in (supposedly) monogamous relationships.
The results showed that 23% of men and 19% of women admitted being unfaithful at some point.
Men’s infidelity was predicted by personality factors like risk-taking.
Professor Milhausen, who led the study, said:
“All kinds of things predict infidelity.
What this study says is that when you put all of those things together, for men, personality characteristics are so strong they bounce everything else out of the model.
For women, in the face of all other variables, it’s still the relationship that is the most important predictor.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior (Mark, et al., 2011).