Infidelity as Risk Taking: A Test of a Sensation Seeking Model of Infidelity
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The purpose of the current research was to explore the relationship between sensation seeking and infidelity by determining if this personality trait is related to retrospective and longitudinal sexual, emotional, and composite infidelities. Further, this research sought to identify the specific mechanisms by which high sensation seekers come to engage in infidelity. A Sensation Seeking Model of Infidelity - which integrated individual-difference variables identified by the Sensation Seeking Framework and the relationship-context variable (i.e., commitment) specified in the Investment Model - was tested to accomplish the goals of this research. Overall, results indicated that sensation seekers are more likely to engage in all three types of infidelity because they assess the benefits as high and the costs as low, perceive that important others are also engaging in extradyadic behaviors, and have a high need for sexual arousal and/or romantic love. This research is important as it addresses gaps in the literature, makes empirical and theoretical contributions to the sensation seeking and infidelity literatures, and identifies areas for future research.