Comparison of Indirect and Direct Approaches to Identifying an Unfaithful Partner

Yabin Tang, Jason D. Hans, Laura M. Vowels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infidelity has been operationalized inconsistently across studies, and measurement approaches have been employed that are not ideally suited for addressing the stigmatized and subjective nature of infidelity, thereby limiting the conclusions that can be drawn from this body of literature. In 2016, Thompson and O’Sullivan took a step toward addressing these shortcomings by implementing an indirect measurement approach. We extend their findings using a sample of 465 married and divorced individuals via MTurk. Substantially more participants reported having engaged in infidelity via the indirect approach than the direct approach, and results suggest that—in contrast to findings from direct questioning—similar percentages of men and women engage in self-defined infidelity. Implications for research and clinical practice are provided.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sex and Marital Therapy
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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