Volume 1

Men’s and Women’s Reactions to Hypothetical Emotional and Sexual Infidelities of their Partners

Jessica Gifford

College students (n = 80) completed a four section survey consisting of demographic questions, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale, and two scenarios, each followed by 23 statements designed to determine participants’ perceived blaming and coping styles. Each participant read one scenario depicting a sexual affair and one depicting an emotional affair. Within these scenarios, participants were randomly assigned to a truthfulness condition; half depicting a confession and half concealment. The findings indicate that when confronted with emotional affairs, women expressed greater likelihood of externalizing blame and displaying emotional and mature coping styles than did men. Additionally, women’s self-esteem was not related to self-blame or use of immature coping styles. Among men, self-esteem was strongly related to coping and blaming styles.

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