Interpersonal Communication: Evolving Interpersonal Relationships

By Pamela J. Kalbfleisch | Go to book overview

7
Hers or His? Sex Differences in
the Experience and Communication
of Jealousy in Close Relationships

Laura K. Guerrero1 University of Arizona

Sylvie V. Eloy University of Arizona

Peter F. Jorgensen University of Arizona

Peter A. Andersen San Diego State University

Jealousy is one of a wide array of relational feelings that are commonly experienced by men and women alike. Yet only in the past 15 years have social scientists begun to empirically examine the role jealousy plays in intimate male/female relationships ( Pfeiffer & Wong, 1989; White & Mullen, 1989). Moreover, studies on sex differences in the experience, expression, and communication of jealousy have yielded inconsistent and confusing results. In an effort to begin resolving this confusion, this chapter reports two studies. Study 1 examines sex differences in jealousy experienced by married individuals at the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral levels. Study 2 investigates how both sex and relationship status (dating versus married) affect the emotional experience and communicative reactions associated with jealousy. Because both of these studies focus upon romantic jealousy in particular, an overview of jealousy as a relational construct is provided first in order to set this framework.

Jealousy is an intrinsic part of many relationships in process. In particular, jealousy is likely to be experienced by romantic partners who value their relationships and want to preserve them ( Bringle, Renner, Terry, & Davis, 1983; Salovey & Rodin, 1989; White, 1981a, 1981b). Salovey and Rodin ( 1989) defined jealousy as occurring when an individual feels that something he or she possesses (such as a relationship) can be taken away. Thus, threats to rela-

____________________
1
The authors thank Dale Brashers, Jeff Bryson, Judee Burgoon, Pamela Kalbfleisch, Michael Payne, and Brian Spitzberg for their helpful comments on various sections of this chapter.

-109-

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