Volume 28, Issue 2 (4-2021)                   RJMS 2021, 28(2): 104-116 | Back to browse issues page

Research code: 137
Ethics code: 137
Clinical trials code: 67

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Azimi B, Farahbakhsh K, Salimi Bajestani H, Asgari M. Justifying behaviours of internet infidelity: Coping strategies with marital conflicts: A phenomenological study. RJMS 2021; 28 (2) :104-116
URL: http://rjms.iums.ac.ir/article-1-6647-en.html
Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran , bitaazimi99@yahoo.com
Abstract:   (1678 Views)
Background & Aims: Infidelity is one of the most shocking phenomena in the relationship between couples and families and also one of the most common problems among couples who refer to couples therapists. Online betrayal, despite its differences, may have similarities to other forms of betrayal, and there is a challenge for clinicians in providing a single definition that covers both types of betrayal. Therapists agree that secrecy is a constant aspect of various types of infidelity, including cyber infidelity. For all societies, especially Iran as a cultural-religious and family-oriented country, is considered an alarm, the possibility of the impact of the Internet on increasing the prevalence of betrayal as a new context and tool with a large number of users. Studies have shown that online infidelity, like real-world infidelity, can lead to marital discord, separation, and even divorce. Infidelity of any kind damages the relationship and deprives couples of trust. In the case of online infidelity, where infidelity is usually committed at home, with a spouse, and by a device that has other positive uses, these harms may be even greater .The identification of these coping strategies has not been studied specifically in the case of cyber infidelity. arrives. Therefore, the present study addressed the main question: what are the behaviors that justify infidelity and in other words, the mechanisms for dealing with marital conflicts?
Methods: The methodology of this research was qualitative research and phenomenological approach. The inclusion criteria of the participants in the research were: 1) married, 2) cyberspace user, and 3) have experienced at least one online extramarital affair with a heterosexual during their married life. Sampling from the current research community, in which married cyberspace users were involved in cyber-betrayal, faced many difficulties due to its taboo nature and the possibility of hiding cyber-betrayal. Clients of professors and colleagues involved in cybercrime were reluctant to work with an anonymous interviewer for fear of disclosure. Clients who consulted a researcher as a victim of cybercrime were unable to satisfy the person involved in cybercrime, who was usually their spouse or parents. Finally, the researcher announced the subject of his research to friends and acquaintances that this method was effective. The first interview was conducted in this way and two other people were interviewed by snowball sampling. Seven samples were also discovered during one-on-one counseling sessions at a private counseling center who agreed to cooperate and record audio due to the trust placed in the counseling process. Therefore, sampling in this study was done by snowball and purposeful method. Subsequent sampling process was guided by the concepts obtained from the analysis of the initial interviews. The sample size was also determined by theoretical saturation. This means that after coding and defining the concepts after the tenth interview, no other data was added and the relationships between the concepts were established and explained. For more reassurance, two other people were interviewed. Therefore, interviews were conducted with 12 people involved in cyber betrayal. The instrument of the present study was a semi-structured in-depth interview. The duration of the interview ranged from 1 to 1.5. The interviews in this study were collected over a period of about 2 years. The interviews began with a general question about cybercrime and were followed by exploratory questions such as (can you explain more or can you explain what you mean? Explain more clearly?) Was used. Dickelman, Allen and Tanner interpretive analysis methods were used to analyze the data. After each interview, the audio file was translated into written text and transferred to Max-QDA software version 2020 and analyzed. The text of the interviews was read several times to give the researcher a general meaning of each interview. For each interview, a commentary summary was written in line with the purpose of understanding and extracting the hidden meanings.
Results: In the present study, 12 men and women who were involved in cybercrime were interviewed to ensure data saturation. During the initial coding process, 84 initial codes were identified from the interview data. After examining the commonalities in different dimensions, the semantic units of these units were classified into 11 sub-themes. Finally, based on the observed internal relationships between the sub-themes, 2 main themes were created. 1-Intrapersonal justifiers: Some participants used cognitive confrontations to reduce their cognitive inconsistencies to justify their behavior. The following topics were: Self-deception - Self-righteousness - Irresponsible self-reassurance - Compensation of needs in an irresponsible way and overcoming desires and needs over value barriers - Elimination of internal barriers in chat - Experiencing addictive behaviors. 2- Interpersonal justifications: Internet infidelity is a behavior that some research participants choose to avoid or compensate for their problems with their spouse. Of course, an interpersonal sub-theme is also related to the relationship with a third party in interaction with cyberspace. The following are the topics: conflict avoidance, unhealthy problem solving, retaliation, and the experience of increasing intimacy in everyday chats.
For all societies, especially Iran as a cultural-religious and family-oriented country, is considered an alarm, the possibility of the impact of the Internet on increasing the prevalence of betrayal as a new context and tool with a large number of users. Studies have shown that online infidelity, like real-world infidelity, can lead to marital discord, separation, and even divorce.
Conclusion: Based on the findings of the present study, it seems that in line with the mechanisms of coping with marital conflicts, intrapersonal and interpersonal justifiers; Involvement strategies of individuals involved in Internet infidelity. Intrapersonal justifiers were in fact cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dysfunctions that participants used to justify Internet infidelity in order to reduce the cognitive dissonance created within them. The theme of interpersonal justifications is also one of the strategies to justify Internet infidelity, which reflects the dysfunctional behavioral and emotional confrontations that people adopt in the face of marital problems. There was also interpersonal justification found in this study. There seems to be a two-way relationship between some of the obtained themes and the phenomenon of cyber-betrayal. Some sub-themes, such as conflict avoidance, are sometimes a prerequisite for initiating cyber-betrayal and sometimes a consequence. For example, in some participants, avoiding conflict led to resorting to the Internet, while others avoided conflict after betraying the Internet. In some cases, the sub-themes had an interactive effect, for example, disabling chatting could increase everyday intimacy, or vice versa. Finally, given the Iranian cultural context, online betrayal seems to be an emerging harmful phenomenon that can It can cause harm to the individual, spouse and family and consequently social consequences. Therefore, studying this phenomenon can help reduce personal, family and social harms. This study faced limitations in its path, including the fact that due to the difficulty in finding the sample, it was not possible to separate gender and age intervenors, and the results of the study addressed a range of age and gender, so the possibility of comparing the two sexes and different age groups there was not. It is suggested that future studies focus on different age groups, a separate study of both sexes, and a simultaneous study of couples to gain a more comprehensive understanding of intrapersonal and interpersonal justification strategies for coping with marital conflict.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Clinical Psychiatry

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