Episodic Envy


Yochi Cohen-Charash, Department of Psychology, Baruch College, CUNY, 1 Bernard Baruch Way, Box B-8215, New York, NY 10010. E-mail: yochi.cohen-charash@baruch.cuny.edu


Episodic envy, the unpleasant emotion resulting from a specific negative social comparison, is discussed. A new measure designed to assess it is developed, validated, and cross-validated in 3 studies. The implications of episodic envy are also examined. Results show that episodic envy is composed of a feeling component and a comparison component; and is different from unfairness, admiration, and competition. The feeling component is strongly correlated with negative emotional reactions (anxiety, depression, negative mood, hostility) and behavioral reactions (e.g., harming the other, creating a negative work atmosphere) to envy. The comparison component is correlated with behaviors intended to improve one's position in the organization. Episodic envy predicts reactions to envy above and beyond dispositional envy.