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Jealousy mediates the relationship between attractiveness comparison and females' indirect aggression

Authors

  • STEVEN ARNOCKY,

    Corresponding author
    1. McMaster University, Canada
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    • Steven Arnocky, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada;

  • SHAFIK SUNDERANI,

    1. McMaster University, Canada
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    • Shafik Sunderani, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada;

  • JESSIE L. MILLER,

    1. McMaster University, Canada
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    • Jessie L. Miller, Department of Psychiatry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada;

  • TRACY VAILLANCOURT

    Corresponding author
    1. McMaster University, Canada
    2. University of Ottawa, Canada
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    • Tracy Vaillancourt, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and Faculty of Education and School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.


  • This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Steven Arnocky, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada, e-mail: arnocksa@mcmaster.ca or Tracy Vaillancourt, Faculty of Education and School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada, e-mail: tracy.vaillancourt@uottawa.ca.

Abstract

Indirect aggression is considered an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism that can improve female mating success. It has been hypothesized that indirect aggression toward romantic partners and peers is used more frequently by females who make appearance-based comparisons and that these relationships are mediated by jealousy. Females (N = 528) currently in romantic relationships were surveyed. Results confirmed females who made more frequent appearance comparisons aggressed more often toward partners and peers. Low-comparing females reported being more frequent targets of peer indirect aggression. Jealousy partially mediated the relationships between making frequent attractiveness comparisons and indirect aggression. Results are discussed as effort allocated toward deterring partner defection and fending off rivals, and the role of emotion as a motivational influence for aggression.

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