Gender and Behaviour

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Exploring cheating behaviour amongst married men and women in a South African university

Erhabor S. Idemudia, Sympathy K. Mulaudzi


Cheating behaviour among married persons is a major concern that affects most marriages today, with its devastating effects accounting for over 90% of divorces in South Africa and in addition, the negative consequences for children and families and yet there are scant studies that address cheating behaviour in the country. Explaining from an African cultural belief and other theories, the study explored the causes, types and preventive strategies of cheating behaviour among 10 married students (5 males and 5 females) who were snowballed and purposively selected. Age of participants ranged from 26-39 years with a mean age of 30.3 years. Data was collected through face to face and semi-structured interviews. Atlas Ti, and Thematic Analysis were utilised to analyse the data. The results revealed that causes of cheating behaviour were temptation and distance, retribution, lack of quality time and lack of emotional satisfaction. Findings also showed that married females were more likely than married men to be involved in emotional cheating while married males engaged in sexual cheating than their female counterparts. The findings also indicated that communication, romantic and spontaneous sexual gratification and spending time together are the most appropriate preventive strategies for cheating behaviour in a marriage. Preventive strategies to decrease the occurrence of cheating behaviour for married persons were recommended. Future research suggestions were also made.

Keywords: cheating behaviour, married people, South Africa, students, university

AJOL African Journals Online