Washington, Sept 9 : A new research on infidelity has revealed why people regularly cheat on their partners. "What interests me about infidelity is why people are willing to conduct themselves in ways that could be very damaging to them and to their relationship," said Genevieve Beaulieu-Pelletier, PhD student at the Universite de Montreal's Department of Psychology.
Beaulieu-Pelletier wanted to know if the type of commitment a person has with his or her loved ones is correlated to the desire of having extra-marital affairs.
"The emotional attachment we have with others is modeled on the type of parenting received during childhood," she said.
Psychologists believe people with avoidant attachment styles are individuals uncomfortable with intimacy and are therefore more likely to multiply sexual encounters and cheat.
However, this has never been proved scientifically. Now, Beaulieu-Pelletier has attempted to prove it in a series of four studies.
The first study was conducted on 145 students with an average age of 23. Some 68 percent had thought about cheating and 41 percent had actually cheated.
Sexual satisfaction aside, the results indicated a strong correlation between infidelity and people with an avoidant attachment style.
The second study was conducted on 270 adults with an average age of 27. About 54 percent had thought about cheating and 39 percent had actually cheated. But the correlation is the same: people with an avoidant attachment style are more likely to cheat.
"Infidelity could be a regulatory emotional strategy used by people with an avoidant attachment style. The act of cheating helps them avoid commitment phobia, distances them from their partner, and helps them keep their space and freedom," she said.
Other two studies asked about the motives for infidelity. The will to distance themselves from commitment and their partner was the number one reason cited.
Her studies revealed no differences between men and women. Just as many men and women had an avoidant attachment style and the correlation with infidelity is just as strong on both sides.
"Contrary to popular belief, infidelity isn't more prevalent in men," she said.