Was that cheating? Perceptions vary by sex, attachment anxiety, and behaviorEvolutionary Psychology 11(1): 159-171
We generated an inventory of 27 interpersonal behaviors and examined the extent to which participants judged each behavior as cheating on a long-term partner. We predicted variation in these judgments based on participant sex and attachment insecurity. Ratings for items ranged considerably; participants rated sexual behaviors as most indicative of cheating, then erotic behaviors, followed by behaviors consistent with a romantic relationship, and then behaviors related to financial support. Women rated ten items higher than did men, and men’s ratings were higher on a minor financial support item. Higher attachment anxiety was associated with higher ratings for 18 of 27 behaviors; higher attachment avoidance was associated with lower scores on five items and higher scores on one item. Principle Axis Factoring identified three dimensions; sexual interaction, behaviors indicating close relationships, and casual social interaction. We discuss these results using the framework of attachment theory and sex-specific mating strategies.
attachment, cheating, infidelity, romantic relationships, sex differences