Extradyadic Sex and Psychological Distress among Married and Cohabiting Young Adults: An Examination of Internalized and Externalized Responses

Marin R. Wenger, Michelle L. Frisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Extradyadic sex (EDS) is a major relationship violation, yet it occurs in nearly a quarter of United States cohabiting and marital unions. While many relationships dissolve in the wake of EDS, a majority remain intact. Theories of social stress suggest that substantial psychological distress should result unless EDS is a symptom of stress caused by involvement in a relationship marked by other negative characteristics. This study investigates how one’s own EDS, a partner’s EDS, and mutual EDS are related to internalizing and externalizing behaviors: depressive symptoms and heavy alcohol use, respectively. Analyses of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health suggest that one’s own EDS is associated with heavy alcohol use among cohabiters and spouses and with depressive symptoms among spouses, while partner EDS has no association with either outcome, net of confounders. We discuss the implications of these findings in the study’s conclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-812
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Extradyadic Sex and Psychological Distress among Married and Cohabiting Young Adults: An Examination of Internalized and Externalized Responses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this