Internet Infidelity In The Indian Context

This study provided a coherent and organized view on the reasons behind the act of cheating on primary relationship and investigates distinct rationalization, justification, attribution process behind involvement in Internet Infidelity that will inform both clinicians and researchers in the field. It examined current law of adultery and questions whether law should be expanded to include online infidelity and offered a proposal for legislators & decision makers in Indian context. Finally, the study offered recommendations and directions for the future research on online infidelity, divorce and separation studies in India.

Garima Jain

Research Findings

The data for this exploratory study was collected through random and convenience sample (n= 14,789), using a combination of online and offline methods and disseminated to the social contacts of the authors. An anonymous self- administrated survey was formulated comprising of 14 items.

Study attempted to redress the question by comparing attributions,perception and attitude towards online acts of infidelity of the two set of participants: Perpetrators and Non-Perpetrators of Online Infidelity. A factor analysis was carried out that yielded two components: Dispositional factors (which included 3 sub-factors: (a.) Strong Moral Values, (b.) Religious Principles, (c.) Not wanting to cheat on one’s partner) and Situational factors (which also included 3 sub-factors: (a.) Fear of being caught, (b.) Lack of knowledge, (c.) Internet Inaccessibility.)

Study further investigated the reasons of perpetrators (married and in a committed relationship) behind involvement in “Internet Infidelity”. Findings demonstrated significantly different reasons behind involvement in extra dyadic online relationship between respondents who are married (Emotional Support, Frustration, Boredom) and in a Relationship (Peer Pressure, Desire to Explore). The potential implication of cyberspace addiction and infidelity on intimate partner violence (physical and psychological abuse), divorce, marital discord, mental health related issues and neglect of best parenting practices was also studied.

Outcomes of the Project

An edited volume on “Internet Infidelity: An Interdisciplinary Insight in a Global Context” has been published by Springer Nature in 2018. Editors: Dr. Sanjeev P. Sahni and Garima Jain. Three book chapters related to the findings of the projects are published in the volume.

Jain, G., Sahni, S. P., & Sehgal, N. (2018). Sexual Identity Expression on the Internet: An Empirical Study of Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, and Bisexuals in India. In Internet Infidelity:  An Interdisciplinary Insight in a Global Context (pp. 105-131). Springer, Singapore.

Jain, G., & Sahni, S. P. (2017). Understanding Attribution Bias and Reasons Behind Internet Infidelity in India. In Cybercrime, Organized Crime, and Societal Responses (pp. 47-65). Springer International Publishing.

Sahni S. P., & Jain, G. (2015). Adultery in the Age of Technology: Internet Infidelity, International Research Conference on Business, Economics and Social Sciences, IRC-2015 (February 2015).

Sahni, S. P., & Jain, G. (2015). Adultery in the Age of Technology: Internet Infidelity in India. The Indian Perspective. Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Swedish National Council of Crime Prevention, Stockholm, June 2015.

Sahni, S. P. (2015). Internet Infidelity: Emotional Infidelity & Its Socio- Legal Implications. Onati International Institute for Sociology of Law, May 2015.

Sahni, S. P. (2015). Internet Infidelity: Adultery in the Age of technology, Sexual Violence against Women: Strengthening Preventive Steps. An International perspective on  Cybercrime: complexities and way forward. Presented at 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Doha, April 2015.