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Romance Scam Research Center

2016: US: Examining the Use of False Identities in Online Romantic Interactions

Kadrich, Matthew R.   Michigan School of Professional Psychology ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2016. 10149952.

Abstract: "Consensual Qualitative Research-Modified (CQR-M) was used to answer the question, What motivates young adults to create a false identity to engage in an online romantic relationship? Two studies were completed in which participants were asked to answer 10 open-ended questions to elucidate their experience of creating a false identity to engage in an online romantic relationship. Within these two studies, four domains were identified: Why, Who, Experience, and Ending. Within the Why domain, seven categories were identified: Sexual Identity, Pseudonymity and Anonymity, Attraction Interactions, Social Identity, Deception, Idealism, and Suppressed Identity. Within the Who domain, four categories were identified: Unknown, Sexual, Known, and Dating. Within the Experience domain, seven categories were identified: Discordant, Stimulating, Satisfaction of Needs, Empowerment, Confidence, Creativity, and Effective. Lastly, within the Ending domain, eight categories were identified: Unsatisfying, Maturation, Resolution, Offline Relationship, Exposure, Self-Awareness, Dishonesty, and Still Using. The results indicate that the young adults in this study were motivated to create a false identity by not only various avenues of identity exploration and achievement but also a desire to seek out social engagement. Furthermore, these results suggest that the act of creating a false identity to engage in online romantic relationships is influenced by the typical tasks of identity formation (e.g., those described by Erikson 1968; Erikson & Erikson, 1998) and attempts to have social and love needs, such as those described by Maslow (1943), met by others."

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