Views on marital (in)fidelity in Georgia

According to 86% of adults in Georgia, cheating on one’s spouse can never be justified, according to CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey findings. Another 12% also reported disapproving of cheating, but refrained from a radical “never” answer and choose relatively softer options. Only about 2% openly agreed, albeit with different strength of agreement, with the position that cheating on one’s spouse can be justified. While these answers are expected to be influenced by social desirability bias, they are still interesting indicators of views on marital (in)fidelity in Georgia. Importantly, the distribution of answers has been quite stable since 2011.

Based on the 10-point scale used in CB2017 to record answers to the question, “To what extent, in your opinion, can cheating on one’s spouse be justified or not?” a new binary variable was created for the analysis presented in this blog post, where those answering “Never” (code 1) are considered separately, and their answers are compared to the answers of those who chose all other codes from the show card, i.e. who consider cheating potentially justifiable although do this to varying degrees. Thus, the new variable compares those who report they would not justify cheating under any circumstances, and those who can either think of certain justification(s) for cheating or directly justify it. Answers “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” (less than 1% of the total) were excluded from the analysis.

Age, gender, marital status and settlement type would be expected to be crucial in exploring divisions of public opinion on this issue. Counterintuitively, though, the small differences in answers by age, gender, and marital status are all within the margin of error. On the other hand, people living in the capital, other urban settlements and rural settlements do answer this question differently. The population of Tbilisi stands out in its tolerance for cheating, with 22% reporting varying degrees of readiness to justify it.

Thus, it is not the basic demographic variables per sè that more or less divide public opinion in respect to (un)acceptance of cheating in Georgia. Living in the capital versus the rest of the country makes more of a difference. Although the majority of the population of Tbilisi reports that cheating on one’s spouse can never be justified, compared to the rest of the population of Georgia, twice as large a share of Tbilisi dwellers report at least some tolerance to marital infidelity.

To have a look at the Caucasus Barometer data, visit CRRC’s Online Data Analysis portal.


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