Thursday, December 16, 2010

Predictors of infidelity

What predicts infidelity?  Here are the results listed for men and women separately (GSS data):

Logistic regression coefficients--men (sample size = 2,379)

Age .01
Black .77
Other race .33
Education .01
Conservatism -.12
Church attendance -.08
IQ .09
Income -.01

All relationships are statistically significant except for Other Race and Education. Male cheaters tend to be: older, black, liberal, not religious, smart, and low-income.

Logistic regression coefficients--women (sample size = 3,315)

Age -.01
Black .77
Other race .09
Education -.05
Conservatism -.12
Church attendance -.11
IQ .19
Income -.01

Other Race is the only independent variable that is unrelated to cheating. Female cheaters are likely to be: young, black, less educated, liberal, not religious, smart, and low-income. The main difference between men and women is age: older men have higher rates of cheating than younger men, but younger women have a higher probability of infidelity than older women. Also--education predicts a faithful wife, but is unrelated to fidelity among husbands.

What's the underlying theme of these predictors? Unconventionality, perhaps? You might want to think twice about committing to an unconventional person.


  1. Anonymous8:50 AM

    Unconventionality = higher openness, lower agreeableness, higher extraversion.

    I would have to dig this up, but I have come across studies showing that cheaters tend to be more open, less agreeable and more daring (that last one shouldn't be a shock).

    An artsy, adventurous chick may be fun to date, but not a wise choice for the long term (unless you're willing to unknowingly raise another man's progeny).

  2. Anonymous1:02 PM

    I'm no statistics wiz, but don't your figures suggest that being black is massively stronger predictor of infidelity than any of other factors you mention?


  3. This information is totaly clear

  4. It's always easy to quibble about these things, but I don't think income belongs in that regression. Since it is a result of several of the other factors in the model and since it is not especially plausibly causing infidelity here, it is probably just serving to "soak up" variation which otherwise would be assigned to IQ, education, and race.

    But, this is a really neat post.

  5. My impression was that black women are much less promiscuous than white women, at least among educated people (and ghetto blacks never actually get maried).

  6. Off topic

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