An inventory and update of jealousy-evoking partner behaviours in modern society

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Abstract

The goal of the present study was to identify the most important jealousy-evoking partner behaviours and to examine the extent to which these behaviours evoke jealousy. Based on the literature, a questionnaire was constructed containing 42 jealousy-evoking partner behaviours, including a partner's extra-dyadic involvement with someone else by means of modern communication devices, such as the Internet. A second study examined the extent to which undergraduates and a community sample experienced jealousy in response to these partner behaviours. Results showed that explicit unfaithful behaviours evoked most feelings of jealousy, followed by a partner's emotional or romantic involvement with someone else by means of modern communication devices. In general, older individuals responded with less jealousy in response to a partner's unfaithful and suspicious behaviours. Clinical implications are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Key Practitioner Message:

  • A partner's involvement with someone else by means of modern communication devices may evoke strong feelings of jealousy, in particular among women.

  • An individual's age affects the extent to which he or she experiences jealousy in response to specific extra-dyadic partner behaviours.

  • In order to correctly diagnose and treat pathological jealousy, clinicians should pay attention to the extent to which partners (unintentionally) evoke and maintain feelings of jealousy.

  • Identifying partner behaviours that evoke most jealousy may help couples define the boundaries of their relationship.

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