Nearly 35 percent of recently married couples first met online, according a survey of more than 19,000 people published Monday in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
The study, which looked at couples married between 2005 and 2012, also found that marriages which began online were less likely to end in divorce and were happier than their offline counterparts.
Almost half (45 percent) of those couples that met online first met on dating sites; the rest met in social networks, chat rooms or other online venues.
The study’s lead author John Cacioppo, a psychologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, told USA Today that dating sites may “attract people who are serious about getting married.”
Although Cacioppo is an esteemed researcher and the PNAS is a prestigious journal,the funding of the study by dating website eHarmony has raised questions of bias. Cacioppo has sat on eHarmony’s Scientific Advisory Board since its inception in 2007.
“It’s a very impressive study,” says social psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “But it was paid for by somebody with a horse in the race and conducted by an organization that might have an incentive to tell this story.”