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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2009

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

online dating, deception, attachment, lying, dating

Abstract

Online dating is becoming an increasingly used method for meeting significant others. This study had two central goals. The first goal was to explore the factors that contribute to deception used to attract a romantic partner online. The second aim was to discover the reasons that people with different attachment styles might lie as well as their justifications and interpretations for those lies. Male and female single college undergraduates (N = 208), who had previously completed an attachment style measure via an online screening, were asked to complete an online dating profile and an email to a potential dating partner. Participants reviewed these correspondences and noted any inaccuracies. They also completed a questionnaire related to lying in romantic relationships. It was hypothesized that both attachment style and gender would affect lying behavior. For online dating, results indicated that women told more self-oriented and subtle lies than men, and that high attachment avoidance and anxiety predicted greater lying behavior for participants with relationship experience. Offline, attachment predicted the motivations, justifications, and acceptability of lying to romantic partners. Implications related to online dating and attachment processes in relational deception are discussed.

First Advisor

Paula R. Pietromonaco

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