From USA Today (published last year):
Study: More Than A Third Of New Marriages Start Online by Sharon Jayson
More than a third of recent marriages in the USA started online, according to a study out Monday that presents more evidence of just how much technology has taken hold of our lives.
The research, based on a survey of more than 19,000 individuals who married between 2005 and 2012, also found relationships that began online are slightly happier and less likely to split than those that started offline.
Findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put the percentage of married couples that now meet online at almost 35% -- which gives what may be the first broad look at the overall percentage of new marriages that result from meeting online. About 45% of couples met on dating sites; the rest met on online social networks, chat rooms, instant messaging or other online forums.
While Cacioppo is a noted researcher and the study is in a prestigious scientific journal, it is not without controversy. It was commissioned by the dating website eHarmony, according to the study's conflict of interest statement. Company officials say eHarmony paid Harris Interactive $130,000 to field the research. Cacioppo has been a member of eHarmony's Scientific Advisory Board since it was created in 2007. In addition, former eHarmony researcher Gian Gonzaga is one of the five co-authors.
"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.
"Does this study suggest that meeting online is a compelling way to meet a partner who is a good marriage prospect for you? The answer is 'absolutely,'" he says. But it's "premature to conclude that online dating is better than offline dating."