Family Background and Propensity to Engage in Infidelity

Dana A. Weiser, Daniel J. Weigel, Camille B. Lalasz, William P. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The current study explored how a variety of family-of-origin experiences are related to individuals’ infidelity history. A survey was completed by 294 participants and we found that parental infidelity, parental marital status, parental conflict, and parental marital satisfaction were associated with the likelihood of offspring having ever engaged in infidelity. When considered together, parent infidelity and parent satisfaction were uniquely related to offspring infidelity. Additionally, parental marital status moderated the relationship between parent infidelity and offspring infidelity, as individuals who experienced neither event were particularly unlikely to have ever engaged in infidelity. Little evidence was found that individuals’ infidelity beliefs were linked with their family-of-origin experiences or their own infidelity behavior. Results indicate that family-of-origin experiences are related to individuals’ infidelity behavior, a finding that has implications for future research as well as clinical intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2083-2101
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • divorce/separation
  • intergenerational
  • intimate relationships
  • parent/child relations
  • sexuality


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