5 Apr

Infidelity and the Internet: The Geography of Ashley Madison Usership in the United States

Author Name:
Michael L. Chohaney, University of Toledo, Department of Geography & Planning
Kimberly A. Panozzo, University of Toledo, Department of Geography & Planning

Article Title, Issue and Volume: Infidelity and the Internet: The Geography of Ashley Madison Usership in the United States

 

Full Article Here

What is the main purpose of your study?
The purpose of our study is to measure the effect of theoretical and empirically-supported characteristics of sexually-compulsive individuals and those engaging in infidelity as market determinants of Ashley Madison usership.

What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study? Our research demonstrates the utility of quantitatively analyzing and characterizing market determinants for a product or service as a means to produce insights that can be purposed for targeted marketing and sales efforts. The dataset used for our research is evidence that publicly-available stolen data can be used responsibility and as a means to study topics where data are difficult to obtain or problematic to collect.

How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
This study builds upon and tests the findings of many individual-level studies on infidelity and the elements of a well-known theory of online sexual compulsiveness.

What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
Per-capita income was by far the most significant market characteristic positively related to Ashley Madison usership.

Religiosity remains a protective force against infidelity at the individual and aggregate level, and most individual-level characteristics of those engaging in infidelity positively also related to Ashley Madison usership at an aggregate, geographic level—suggesting they are robust, generalizable characterizations.

The Villages, Florida was a significant outlier, suggesting the MSA’s specifically-engineered social environment provides ample opportunity for extramarital or polyamorous relationships.

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
Our use of publicly-available, stolen data may inspire other geographers to view future data breaches as opportunities to research difficult-to-measure human behavior, which may have never been studies from a spatial perspective.

How does your research help us think about Geography?
Our research demonstrates Geography is willing to take risks (i.e., [responsibly] using publicly-available stolen data) to uncover knowledge and potential actionable insights about topics that would be otherwise difficult to study.