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Those who met online also reported a slight difference in marital satisfaction — rating their unions on a 1-to-7 scale at 5.6, versus 5.5 for those who met offline.“These are small effects, but it’s stunning that there are any effects at all,” Cacioppo says.
After controlling for demographic factors, they found no significant differences in the number of reported break-ups by people using the various services.
But there were notable differences in marital satisfaction between users of different sites.
For example, those who married a spouse they met on e Harmony rated their marriages more highly than did those who met on Match, who were in turn more satisfied than those who met their spouse on Yahoo Personals.
Market-research firm Harris Interactive carried out the survey and independent biostatisticians at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, analysed the data.
Couples in the United States who meet online seem to enjoy at least as much marital bliss as those who meet in more traditional venues, according to the results of an online survey of more than 19,000 people funded by online dating service e Harmony.
The survey's participants consisted of people who married between 20.
About 35% reported that they had met their spouse online, more than through introductions by friends, work and school combined.
The study revealed that people who used this method to meet their spouses were slightly older, wealthier, more educated and more likely to be employed than those who went with tradition.
Yet only about 45% of these online meetings took place on a dating site; the rest occurred through social networks such as Facebook and My Space, as well as chat rooms, online communities, virtual worlds, multi-player games, blogs and discussion boards.
“Surprisingly, we found that marriages that started online were associated with better outcomes,” says psychologist and lead author John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, Illinois, who is also a scientific adviser to e Harmony.
About 94% of marriages that had started online lasted at least until the time of the survey in 2012, compared with about 92% of those in the offline group.
The difference was still statistically significant after controlling for other demographics such as age, race, religion and income.