Infidelity increases the risk of health consequences

Scientific evidence platform Scientific evidence Infidelity increases the risk of health consequences




Maria is desperate because she recently found out that her husband is cheating on her with another woman and is infected with HIV. He has cheated on her throughout the relationship and never told her that he had HIV. Currently, Maria is terrified because she does not know if she is infected (The actual case occurred in 2021. Maria’s name is fictitious)

Cheating in a relationship has adverse effects and has a negative impact on physical and personal health, as demonstrated by the doctoral thesis “The deception in peer relationships between young people and adolescents: Choosing to be free for renouncing to freedom” (written in Catalan) written by Marta Cortés Camacho.

Cheating situations are more common in society than it seems. Guthrie & Kunkel (2013) noted in their study that 92% of the people surveyed had cheated on their partner at some point. A situation that shows the high risk of people who are directly or indirectly involved in cheating. Studies such as those by Parker et al. (2014), who investigated the acceptability of cheating on the likelihood of contracting HIV, found that the respondents perceived infidelity as pervasive, leading to an elevated risk of HIV infection. 

Other research shows that in addition to contracting sexual diseases, cheating leads to depressive symptoms (Davila, 2008, Davila et al., 2004), stages of anxiety and stress (Kachadourian et al., 2015), distress (Hall & Fincham, 2009), insomnia (Baglioni et al. 2010), and suicide (Kisch, Leino & Silverman, 2005).



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The problem of infidelity is often underestimated, because it is considered a normal thing: something that just happens. In fact, as confirmed by the study by Guthrie & Kunkel (2013)), around 92% of a sample of individuals have cheated on a partner. This gives us an idea of ​​how often this condition occurs and how widespread it is, but although it is a very common event, we tend to underestimate the short, medium or long-term effects that the betrayed person experiences.
In addition to the matter purely related to the physical health of the betrayed person, there is also a debate around the problem of mental health. As we know from numerous scientific studies, mental health also has a major impact on physical health.
In the article “Coping with Infidelity: The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem.” through empirical studies and with an experiment with various respondents, the authors studied the consequence and the possible effects of infidelity on the mental health of individuals. The results show a strong presence of stress, anxiety and depression in the people who have been betrayed. These disorders have strong repercussions both on the physical health and on the social life of the persons. Anxiety, depression and stress can have serious effects on the lives of individuals, such as self-imposed isolation, lack of self-esteem, addiction to alcohol, medicines or drugs, and in the most severe cases can even lead to suicide.
One solution could be to intervene by providing psychological support to the people suffering from this condition, in order to be able to improve their mental health, their physical health and therefore reduce the risk of health consequences in the long term as much as possible.
Shrout, M. Rosie. “Coping with Infidelity: The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem.” Personality and individual differences 154 (2020): n. pag. Web.

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