Dating and relationships online

Of those who did not meet online, nearly 22 percent met through work, 19 percent through friends, nine percent at a bar or club and four percent at church, the study said. When researchers looked at how many couples had divorced by the end of the survey period, they found that 5.96 percent of online married couples had broken up, compared to 7.67 percent of offline married couples.

The difference remained statistically significant even after controlling for variables like year of marriage, sex, age, education, ethnicity, household income, religion and employment status.

Among couples who were still married during the survey, those who met online reported higher marital satisfaction -- an average score of 5.64 on a satisfaction survey -- than those who met offline and averaged 5.48.

The lowest satisfaction rates were reported by people who met through family, work, bars/clubs or blind dates.

Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, led an extensive review of the science published about online dating last year.

He told AFP he agreed with the proportions found in the PNAS study.

His research showed about 35 percent of relationships now start online.

"The overreach occurs when the authors conclude that meeting a partner online is better than meeting a partner through offline avenues," Finkel said.

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"We found evidence for a dramatic shift since the advent of the Internet in how people are meeting their spouse," said the study, led by John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago's Department of Psychology.

marriages begin with online dating, and those couples may be slightly happier than couples who meet through other means, a U. The research is based on a nationally representative survey of 19,131 people who married between 20.

"Nobody's surprised when a minuscule effect reaches statistical significance with a sample of 20,000 people, but it's important that we don't misunderstand 'statistical significance' to mean 'practical significance.'" Finkel also took issue with e Harmony's involvement in the study.

"I'm always a bit wary when a project is entirely funded by a private organization that clearly has a vested interest in the results," he said.

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