Title of Abstract

Perceptions of Marital Infidelity & Its Impact on Children

Poster Number

67

Submitting Student(s)

Neely PritchettFollow

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, sleighm@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

Abstract

We examined infidelity in light of both gender and effects on children.Participants were 96 young adults with a mean age of 20.21 (SD = 1.75). The majority were women (76%) and about half were Caucasian (44%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four different scenarios that described infidelity in a married couple with an 8-year-old child. The scenarios varied in gender of the child and the gender of the cheating parent. Participants were asked to imagine themselves as the child in the scenario and then respond to scales to assess mental health, social support, and well-being. Participants then responded as themselves to scales to assess intentions to cheat on a romantic partner. Our hypothesis was not supported. Participants predicted that the child of the divorced parents in our scenarios would be mentally healthy, experience social support, and have positive well-being. These predicted outcomes did not depend on the gender of the cheating parent or the gender of the child. Instead, we found that perceiver characteristics were more influential in predicting perceptions of child outcomes. Compared to Caucasian adults, African Americans were more negative towards mothers who cheated. This finding was not replicated for fathers, perhaps indicating that mothers play an especially important role in African American families. Participants who had cheated, or were willing to cheat, predicted worse outcomes for the child in our scenarios.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

PSYC 302 - Sleigh

Other Presentations/Performances

Southeastern Psychological Association Conference, Virtual, March 2021

Type of Presentation

Poster presentation

Start Date

16-4-2021 3:00 PM

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Apr 16th, 3:00 PM

Perceptions of Marital Infidelity & Its Impact on Children

We examined infidelity in light of both gender and effects on children.Participants were 96 young adults with a mean age of 20.21 (SD = 1.75). The majority were women (76%) and about half were Caucasian (44%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four different scenarios that described infidelity in a married couple with an 8-year-old child. The scenarios varied in gender of the child and the gender of the cheating parent. Participants were asked to imagine themselves as the child in the scenario and then respond to scales to assess mental health, social support, and well-being. Participants then responded as themselves to scales to assess intentions to cheat on a romantic partner. Our hypothesis was not supported. Participants predicted that the child of the divorced parents in our scenarios would be mentally healthy, experience social support, and have positive well-being. These predicted outcomes did not depend on the gender of the cheating parent or the gender of the child. Instead, we found that perceiver characteristics were more influential in predicting perceptions of child outcomes. Compared to Caucasian adults, African Americans were more negative towards mothers who cheated. This finding was not replicated for fathers, perhaps indicating that mothers play an especially important role in African American families. Participants who had cheated, or were willing to cheat, predicted worse outcomes for the child in our scenarios.