Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age

The project uses survey data from Australian and UK couples to look at the significance and impact of the Internet on intimate relationships, including how people use ICTs to meet each other and maintain relationships, and how ICTs affect their behaviour.

Contact:

Dr Bernie Hogan

Tel: +44 (0)1865 287198

Email: bernie.hogan@oii.ox.ac.uk

Overview

Me, My Spouse and the Internet 2011 Global Report

An important aspect of the way in which the Internet influences our everyday life is the way in which it reconfigures not only how we communicate, but also with whom we communicate; how we meet people but also who we meet.

This theme of 'reconfiguring access' is an important element of several of our research projects. The Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) have recently paid special attention to social networks and relationships formed through the Internet. Other examples of projects in this area include the eSocial Science (OeSS) project, the Companions project and research on mobile phones.

The project contributes to our research into the impact of the Internet on social networks by looking at the significance and impact of the Internet on intimate relationships.

Internet and Marriage: Research Questions

Meeting a partner

What role does the Internet play in introducing married couples? What are the geographic, socioeconomic and psychological characteristics of people who first met their partner online compared with those who met in more traditional ways?

Online behaviour

Which online behaviours are considered unacceptable in a partner? What are the expectations within a marriage about online self-disclosure to others?

Maintaining relationships

What role does the Internet play in the quality of married life? How important is online communication in resolving marital conflict?

Methodology

This study will collect data through online surveys of married couples who used the Internet in 19 countries. A total of 9300 couples will be expected to answer the survey. Participants will be recruited from an international company specializing in online panels. Upon completion, participants will be asked to allow their spouses to complete the second half of the questionnaire. Questions asked of both participants will be identical.

Support

This research project is supported by a grant and collaboration from eHarmony, a US-based online match-making company supporting research on the science of relationships. We would like to continue and extend this project over time, and to include civil-contract and long-term cohabiting couples. Parties interested in supporting work in this area, or who have enquiries about this project, should contact Dr Bernie Hogan.

People

Researchers

Publications

Articles

Presentations

  • Dutton, W.H., Helsper, E.J. and Whitty, M. (2008) Marriage and the Internet. Presented at One Plus One seminar, 30 July 2008.

Reports

Working papers

Webcasts

  • Interview with Joseph Walther: Presentation and Perception on Online Dating Sites

    Interview with Joseph Walther: Presentation and Perception on Online Dating Sites

    Recorded on: 10 December 2011 Duration: 00:04:11

    Joseph Walther describes the hyperpersonal model and its relevance to the study of online dating. 'Idealisation' of perception and presentation online can facilitate the selection process, but may have unforseen consequences when people eventually meet.

  • Interview with Erina Lee: Partner Compatibility and Online Dating Sites

    Interview with Erina Lee: Partner Compatibility and Online Dating Sites

    Recorded on: 10 December 2011 Duration: 00:04:37

    Erina Lee discusses the importance of similarity between partners in terms of long-term relationship satisfaction. She discusses some compatibility dimensions that have been considered by eHarmony, as well as future directions for research.

  • Interview with Jeff Hancock: 'Deception' on Online Dating Sites

    Interview with Jeff Hancock: 'Deception' on Online Dating Sites

    Recorded on: 10 December 2011 Duration: 00:04:01

    Jeff Hancock talks with co-author Nicole Ellison about their work on the issue of 'deception' on online dating sites (in terms of 'optisation of self presentation'), and introduces the idea of 'profiles as promise'.

  • Interview with Monica Whitty: Scammers on Online Dating Sites

    Interview with Monica Whitty: Scammers on Online Dating Sites

    Recorded on: 10 December 2011 Duration: 00:06:04

    Monica Whitty discusses her recent work on dating scams, which has focused on attempting to identify a typology of victims, recognizing the techniques used by scammers, and also the psychological impact of the scams themselves.

  • Relationships and the Internet (Public Panel)

    Relationships and the Internet (Public Panel)

    Recorded on: 4 December 2009 Duration: 01:22:22

    This forum looks at the state of the art of academic research on relationships and the Internet and how this research informs research on the social aspects of the Internet in general, such as issues of trust and identity.

  • A Perspective on the History and Future of Online Dating

    A Perspective on the History and Future of Online Dating

    Recorded on: 2 October 2008 Duration: 00:29:10

    This is part of a forum panel that provided a critical perspective on the history and future of the Internet's role in meeting new people, dating, and developing lasting relationships, such as through partnerships and marriage.

  • Digital Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Relationship Gains and Losses from Internet Communication

    Digital Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Relationship Gains and Losses from Internet Communication

    Recorded on: 2 October 2008 Duration: 00:29:51

    This is part of a forum panel that provided a critical perspective on the history and future of the Internet's role in meeting new people, dating, and developing lasting relationships, such as through partnerships and marriage.

  • A Progressive Affair: From Online Dating to Real World Mating

    A Progressive Affair: From Online Dating to Real World Mating

    Recorded on: 2 October 2008 Duration: 00:42:10

    This is part of a forum panel that provided a critical perspective on the history and future of the Internet's role in meeting new people, dating, and developing lasting relationships, such as through partnerships and marriage.

News

Blog

  • A Look at the Media Response to our Valentine’s Day Report

    Couples Blog on 8 Jun 2011 12:36PM

    Following the release of our Valentine’s Day report [pdf link], we were pleased to see media outlets across the world publicising and discussing the initial findings of our newly expanded dataset. We understand that when covering academic reports, [...]

  • Me, My Spouse and the Internet report released

    Couples Blog on 14 Feb 2011 01:49AM

    Today, February 14th, 2011. We’re pleased to announce the release of a new report from the Oxford Internet Institute. Drawing on the Pan-European data collection from early spring 2010 and subsequent data collection in Brazil and Japan in the [...]