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J Sex Marital Ther. 2015;41(5):487-97. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2014.931314. Epub 2014 Aug 25.

Defining infidelity in research and couple counseling: a qualitative study.

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a Department of Health and Social Sciences, Faculty of Health & Applied Sciences, The University of the West of England , Bristol , United Kingdom.


Infidelity can destroy relationships, but there is long-standing debate in the field about how best to define the construct. A clear definition of infidelity is important theoretically, empirically, and therapeutically; however, research on the topic is limited. This study explores how seven experienced couple counselors define infidelity on the basis of their work with heterosexual couples presenting with this issue. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interview transcripts and research findings suggest a rich web of conflicting definitions of infidelity for couples counselors and, in their accounts, clients. The findings support an understanding of infidelity as socially constructed and the implications of this for the field are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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