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Infidelity Rises When She Makes More Than He Does
Date:8/16/2010

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that men are more likely to cheat if their income is much lower than what their wife or female partner makes, while women are more likely to fool around if they make more than their husband or male partner.

The findings suggest that disparities in moneymaking play a significant role in infidelity, at least among the young couples they studied.

"With women, they were less likely to engage in infidelity the less money they make relative to their husband," said study author Christin Munsch. "But for men, the less money you make relative to your spouse, the more likely you are to engage in infidelity."

Munsch, a graduate student at Cornell University, said she came up with the idea of studying the effects of income on infidelity after hearing from a friend who has cheated on his partner. He told Munsch that "she made all the money, she had all the friends, and he'd moved up there to be with her. He felt completely powerless."

While there's been previous research into infidelity, it didn't look into differences in income among couples, Munsch said.

So she examined the results of a national survey that tracked 9,000 people beginning in 1997 when they were children. She focused on the results of the survey from 2001-2007, when the participants were between 17 and 27 years old.

The findings are scheduled to be released Monday at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Atlanta.

Munsch found that almost 7 percent of the men reported having sex outside their relationships between 2002 and 2007, while about 3 percent of women did. Black and Hispanic men were more likely than white men to have fooled around.

Two lifestyle factors, higher education and regular religious observance, seem to help keep infidelity at bay for both men and women, the study found.

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