Intentions Towards Infidelity Scale

Intentions Towards Infidelity Scale

DANIEL NELSON JONES,University of British Columbia


Infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce and relationship dissolution (Daly, Wilson, & Weghorst, 1982). Thus, being able to predict who will be unfaithful in the future would be critical to assessing relationship longevity and fidelity. We created the Intentions Towards Infidelity Scale (ITIS) in order to predict who is likely to stay faithful to a romantic partner.


Infidelity causes emotional pain and turmoil in addition to concerns of exposing, or actually exposing, a current partner to a sexually transmitted infection. Attitudes towards infidelity only provide some evidence for who will be unfaithful in the future, because attitudes do not always directly translate into behavior as well as behavioral intentions (Ajzen & Fishbein, 2005). Certain individual differences, such as personality, also can predict infidelity. However, such scales are long and measure global dispositions towards negative interpersonal behavior rather than specifically targeting infidelity (Hall & Fincham, 2005). As a result, we created a brief scale that measures behavioral intentions in order to assess the likelihood of engaging in infidelity behaviors (e.g., intentions to hide the relationship from an attractive other or be unfaithful in the future).

Response Mode and Timing

The ITIS is a self-report questionnaire with responses ranging from −3, Not at all Likely, to +3, Extremely Likely. The ITIS takes less than a minute to complete.

Scoring and Reliability

The ITIS consists of seven items. Once the third item is reverse scored, the items should then be averaged to create a single score. The ITIS has one common factor, on which all items consistently load. The Cronbach’s alpha internal reliability is also consistently good across samples (Jones, 2009; Olderbak, 2008; Olderbak & Figueredo, 2009), ranging from .70 to .81. To date, there is no test-retest reliability information available on the scale.


Convergent and Discriminant Validity

The ITIS is a new scale, which demonstrates good valid- ity in preliminary samples (Jones, 2009; Olderbak, 2008; Olderbak & Figueredo, 2009). At present, the only validity data available are on college-aged samples, although we argue that the scale is appropriate for anyone who is in a committed romantic relationship.

The ITIS shows strong overall correlations with previous and current self-reports of frequency of infidelity behavior with the average correlation of all the studies ranging from to .60 (Jones, 2009). In addition, Jones (2009) also con- ducted several studies correlating the ITIS with a number of variables related to sexual and romantic relationships. All effect size terminology is based on Cohen’s (1988) taxon- omy of effect sizes. Results indicate that the ITIS correlates

moderately and positively with overall insecure attachment, as well as avoidant attachment, but does not correlate with anxious attachment. The ITIS correlates moderately and positively with unrestricted sociosexual attitudes and sexual behavior, and correlates strongly and positively with mating effort. The ITIS also correlates moderately and negatively with long-term mating orientation and relationship satisfaction.

The ITIS has small to moderate correlations with the Big Five personality traits of conscientiousness and agreeable- ness. The ITIS is also positively and moderately correlated with openness to experience. In addition, the ITIS has a small positive correlation with impulsive sensation seeking (ISS) and a moderate positive correlation with aggression/ hostility (AH), personality traits of the “Alternative Five” personality scale (Zuckerman, Kulhman, Joireman, Teta, & Kraft, 1993). The ITIS also fully mediates the relation- ship between every aforementioned variable and overall number of infidelities a person has committed.

Criterion Validity: Prediction of Relationship Outcomes Over Time

In a recent longitudinal study (Olderbak, 2008), the ITIS was administered at baseline and compared to various relationship outcomes over time. The follow-up contacts were conducted 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the initial data collection. A relationship satisfaction questionnaire was administered at intake and at every follow-up.

The ITIS correlated negatively and significantly with a validated relationship satisfaction questionnaire at base- line, 3 months after, and 6 months after baseline. However, this correlation decreased to nonsignificance 9 months and 12 months after baseline. This change is perhaps due to changes in the status of the relationship, including infidelity intentions and behavior. Thus, the ITIS was a significant predictor of relationship satisfaction up to 6 months after its administration.

Mean scores on the ITIS were also compared when dis- aggregated with respect to two dichotomous variables: (a) whether the participant had actually committed any acts of infidelity during the study period, and (b) whether the participant had broken up with his/her romantic partner during the study period. Mean ITIS scores were significantly higher for those who reported actually having been unfaithful and for those who reported experiencing relationship dissolution during the study period. In sum, the ITIS pre- dicts infidelity, relationship satisfaction, and relationship dissolution longitudinally (Olderbak, 2008), as well as in one-time self-report studies (Jones, 2009).

Intentions Towards Infidelity Scale

Please indicate how likely or unlikely you would be to do the following things. Use the scale below to answer the following questions.

Not at all Likely

Extremely Likely








    1. How likely are you to be unfaithful to a partner if you knew you wouldn’t get caught?

    2. How likely would you be to lie to a partner about being unfaithful to them?

    3. How likely would you be to tell a partner if you were unfaithful to them? [R]

    4. How likely do you think you would be to get away with being unfaithful to a partner?

    5. How likely would you be to hide your relationship from an attractive person you just met?

    6. How likely do you think you are to be unfaithful to future partners?

    7. How likely do you think you are to be unfaithful to your present or future husband or wife?

Address correspondence to Daniel N. Jones, 2136 West Mall, Department of Psychology, UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4; e-mail: [email protected]


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Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Daly, M., Wilson, M., & Weghorst, S. J. (1982). Male sexual jealousy. Ethology and Sociobiology, 3, 11–27.

Hall, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (2005). Relationship dissolution following infidelity. In M. Fine & J. Harvey (Eds.), The handbook of divorce and romantic relationship dissolution (pp. 153–168). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Jones, D. N. (2009). The personality of a cheater. Manuscript in preparation.

Olderbak, S. G. (2008). Predicting relationship satisfaction in heterosexual couples longitudinally. Unpublished master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona.

Olderbak, S. G., & Figueredo, A. J. (2009). Predicting romantic relation- ship satisfaction from life history strategy. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 604–610.

Zuckerman, M., Kulhman, M. D., Joireman, J., Teta, P., & Kraft, M. (1993). A comparison of three structural models for personality: The Big Three, the Big Five, and the Alternative Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 757–768.