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Online infidelity among the young and wealthy

Most users of the married dating website Ashley Madison are young and wealthy, a new study has revealed.

A team of researchers from the University of Toledo in Ohio analysed data from the internal documents and user information published last year following the infamous hack of the site.

Due to the high proportion of users who were well off, the researchers claimed income was “the primary driver behind Ashley Madison usership”. They said this finding suggested that “relatively affluent individuals are willing to pay to minimise the social risk of infidelity”.

Age was also a factor, as the number of people who signed up for Ashley Madison membership declined as people got older. This could be because “they have managed to maintain their marriages, or are the result of better-suited remarriages” researchers suggested.

By contrast, younger people were more likely to use the internet to be unfaithful “due to inexperience dealing with turmoil as a couple and the stress of young and dependent children”. However, another explanation for this trend could be that younger people have a “higher level of computer literacy, savvy, and comfort with online dating”.

These figures were based only on heterosexual couples. The University of Toledo analysis did not include the more-than 4,000 users of the site who were seeking a same sex partner.

Previous research has suggested that anywhere between 20 and 25 per cent of all married men are unfaithful. The same is reportedly true of between ten and 15 per cent of married women.

The full study was published in the academic journal Geographical Review.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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