Online dating has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry and the Internet "may be altering the dynamics and outcome of marriage itself," said the study by U. researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.However, some experts took issue with the findings because the survey was commissioned by e Harmony.com, the dating site that attracted one quarter of all online marriages according to the research.According to New York City psychologist and author Vivian Diller, the seven-year study was too short to assess the long-term outcomes of relationships that begin online.
Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, led an extensive review of the science published about online dating last year.
He told AFP he agreed with the proportions found in the PNAS study.
Cacioppo acknowledged being a "paid scientific advisor" for the website, but said the researchers followed procedures provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association and agreed to oversight by independent statisticians.
People who reported meeting their spouse online tended to be age 30-49 and of higher income brackets than those who met their spouses offline, the survey found.
Looking for your future partner online is no longer thought of as something reserved for only the socially awkward or desperate.
Even if you've never spent time on a dating website, the odds are good that some of your friends have.
Although some dating sites and apps are free, others charge a premium to gain access to profiles of romance-seeking men and women.
In 2014, the dating services industry pulled in just over billion in revenue, which adds up to a 4.8% increase since 2009.
Among couples who were still married during the survey, those who met online reported higher marital satisfaction -- an average score of 5.64 on a satisfaction survey -- than those who met offline and averaged 5.48.
The lowest satisfaction rates were reported by people who met through family, work, bars/clubs or blind dates.
Of those who did not meet online, nearly 22 percent met through work, 19 percent through friends, nine percent at a bar or club and four percent at church, the study said. When researchers looked at how many couples had divorced by the end of the survey period, they found that 5.96 percent of online married couples had broken up, compared to 7.67 percent of offline married couples.