Intimacy in marital relationship: Effect of internet usage

Nik Norazira Abdul Aziz, Nor Azlili Hassan, Norazilah Buhari


The internet and its usage into the everyday lives of a significantly large population has tremendously changed the way people communicate and interact. Since the advent of the internet, couples, families, and individuals of all ages are being impacted by the internet in many ways. This article takes a closer look at how the internet can affect the marital intimacy on married men and women. The purpose of this study is to examine any possible impact internet use may have on an intimate marital relationship. The present study sought to examine the time spent on the internet, as it relates to intimacy and relationships satisfaction experienced in marital relationships. This study analyzed data from a survey of 300 Malaysian married men and women in Selangor, Malaysia. Data was presented on the level of their awareness and knowledge concerning to the relationship between their marital intimacy and internet usage. The findings indicated that married men and women understand that controlling of internet usage is vital because this may affect the relationship in a marriage. This study showed that the majority married men and women remain faithful and trust each other. The results also found that they still can regulate their internet usage and time spent online. Hence, this shows that they give priority to their marriage. The result from this study may offer valuable information about the level of internet usage among married couples in Malaysia that also can be used as a baseline to guide treatment programme and assessment.


impact; internet usage; intimacy; marital intimacy; marital relationship; married couple

Full Text:



Al-Cooper (1998). Sexuality and the internet: Surfing into the new millennium. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 1(2), 187-193.

Aron, A., & Westbay, L. (1997). Dimensions of the prototype of love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 535-551.

Beard, K.W (2002). Internet usage: Current status and implications for employees. In Hardie, E., & Ming, Y.T. (Eds). Excessive internet use: The role of personality, loneliness, and social support networks in internet usage. Australian Journal of Engineering Technologies and Society, 5, 34-47.

Beard, K.W. (2005). Internet usage: A review of current assessment techniques and potential assessment questions. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 8, 7-14.

Block, J.J. (2008). Issues for DSM-V: Internet usage. American Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 306-307.

Boyd, & Ellison. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230.

Brier, S. (2012). Cyber semiotics and the question of knowledge. In Godana Dodig-crnkovic, & Mark Burgin (Eds.), Information and Computation. World Scientific Publishing.

Cash, H., Ray, C.D., Steel, A.H., & Winkler, A. (2012). Internet usage: A brief summary of research and practice. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 8, 292-298.

Dandeneau, M.L., & Johnson S.M. (1994). Facilitating intimacy: Interventions and impacts. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 20, 17-33.

Fenichel, M. (2003). Internet usage, addictive behaviour, transference or more.

Greeff, A., & Malherbe, H.L. (2001). Intimacy and marital satisfaction in spouses. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 27, 247-257.

Hassebrauck, M., & Fehr, B. (2002). Dimensions of relationship quality. Personal Relationships, 9, 253-270.

Hendrick, S.S. (1981). Self-disclosure and marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 1150-1159.

Hendrick, S.S. (1998). A generic measure of relationship satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 93-98.

House, J.S., Landis, K.R., & Umberson, D. (1988). Social relationships and health. Science, 241, 540-545.

Holmes, J.G., & Rempel, J.K. (1989). Trust in close relationship. In. Kerkhof, P., Finkenauer, C., & Muusses L.D (2011). Relational consequences of compulsive internet use: A longitudinal study of Newlyweds. Human Communication Research, 37, 147-173.

Huston, T.L., & Chorost, A.E. (1994). Behavioural buffers on the impact of negativity on marital satisfaction: A longitudinal study. Personal Relationships, 1, 223-239.

Kandell, J.J. (1998). Internet addiction on campus: The vulnerability of college students. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 1(1), 11-17.

Kevin, P.B., Lori, B.H., & Bethany, V.S (2010). The use of alternative social networking sites in higher educational settings: A case study of the e-learning benefits of Ning in education. Journal of Interactive, 9(2), 151-170.

Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., & Newton, T.L. (2001). Marriage and health: His and hers. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 472-503.

Kraut, R., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukopadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? In. Kerkhof, P., Finkenauer, C., & Muusses, L.D (2011). Relational consequences of compulsive internet use: A longitudinal study of Newlyweds. Human Communication Research, 37, 147-173.

Lenhart, A., Duggan, M., & Smith A. (2014). Couples, the internet, and social media: How American couples use digital technology to manage life, logistics, and emotional intimacy within their relationships. Pew Research Centre. Retrieved from

Mesch, G.S. (2006). Family relations and the Internet: Exploring a family boundaries approach. Journal of Family Communication, 6, 119-138.

Morahan-Martin, J. (1998). The gender gap in internet use: Why men use the internet more than women – A literature review. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 1, 3-10.

Murray, S.L. (1999). The quest for conviction: Motivated cognition in romantic relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 10, 23-34.

Nie, N.H., & Erbring,L. (2000). Internet and society: A preliminary report. In. Kerkhof, P., Finkenauer, C., & Musses L.D (2011). Relational consequences of compulsive internet use: A longitudinal study of Newlyweds. Human Communication Research, 37, 147-173.

Parker, T.S., & Wampler, K.S. (2003). How bad is it? Perceptions of the relationship impact of different types of internet sexual activities. Contemporary Family Therapy, 25, 415-429.

Reis, H.T., & Shaver, P. (1988). Intimacy as an interpersonal process. In Kerkhof P, Finkenauer, C., & Muusses, L.D (2011). Relational consequences of compulsive internet use: A longitudinal study of Newlyweds. Human Communication Research, 37, 147-173.

Reis, H.T., & Shaver P. (1988). Intimacy as an interpersonal process. In. Duck, S.W. (Eds.) Handbook of personal relationships. (pp. 367-389). Chichester, England, Wiley.

Schaefer, M., & Olson, D. (1981). Assessing intimacy: The PAIR inventory. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 7, 47-60.

Schneider, J.P. (2000). Impacts of cybersex usage on the family: Results of a survey. Sexual Usage & Compulsivity, 7, 31-58.

Schreurs, K., & Buunk, B. (1996). Closeness, autonomy, equity, and relationship satisfaction in lesbian couples. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20, 577-592.

Stevens, J. (1996). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences. (3rd eds.). Mahwah Lawrence Erlbaum.

Stuart, E. (2011). Internet usage harming marriage. Retrieved from

Van den Eijnden, R.J.J.M., Meerkerk, G.J., Vermulst, A.A., Spijkerman, R., & Engels, R. C.M.E. (2008). Online communication, compulsive internet use and psychosocial well-being among adolescents: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 44, 655-665.

Weiser, E.B. (2001). The function of internet use and their social and psychological consequences. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 4, 723-743.

Widyanto, L., & McMurran, M. (2004). The psychometric properties of the internet usage test. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7, 443-450.

Yao-Guo, G., Lin-Yan, S. & Feng-Lin, C. (2006). A research on emotion and personality characteristics in junior high school students with internet addiction disorders. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 14, 153-155.

Young, K.S. (1998). Internet usage: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 1, 237-244.


  • There are currently no refbacks.