Romantic jealousy and relationship closeness

Jealousy and relationship closeness

Exploring the good (reactive) and bad (suspicious) sides of romantic jealousy

From SAGE Open

With Valentine’s day upon us we are encouraged to think of romance, hearts and flowers. However this paper explores something less romantic, the role of jealousy within relationships. Jealousy is commonly experienced at some point in most romances. It is a complex emotion that is considered to have mainly negative qualities—even to be a personal deficiency when at its most extreme expression. This study confirms a hypothesis from the Emotion-in-Relationships conceptual model, which predicts that greater interdependence between relationship partners—or closeness—creates the potential for jealousy. The study aims to better define the positive side of romantic jealousy in addition to its more negative attributes. the research gathered data from questionnaires completed by over 200 college students in premarital relationships.  The psychometric findings strongly support a multidimensional model of romantic jealousy. Results clearly distinguished emotional/reactive jealousy as mostly “good” and cognitive/suspicious jealousy as “bad.” It indicates that jealousy need not be viewed so negatively when it is as a justifiable emotional response to potentially losing a valued relationship. The key lesson from this study is that being ready to become jealous over relationship-threatening events is itself a signal that the relationship is worthy of such a strong emotional reaction. Without jealousy, close relationships might be more pleasant, but would they be as meaningful?

Abstract

This study confirmed a hypothesis from the Emotion-in-Relationships conceptual model, which predicts that greater interdependence between relationship partners—or closeness—creates the potential for jealousy. The study also sought to better define the positive side of romantic jealousy in addition to its more negative attributes. College students in premarital relationships (N = 229) completed a questionnaire, including 27 different measures and the Multidimensional Jealousy Scale. Select data were obtained from 122 cases at 3-month follow-up. Each jealousy scale was tested for associations with demographic (age, sex, and race), person (life satisfaction, loneliness, romantic attachment styles, love styles, and romantic beliefs), and relationship (affective, closeness, and social exchange theory) constructs. Results clearly distinguished emotional/reactive jealousy as mostly “good” and cognitive/suspicious jealousy as “bad.” Behavioral jealousy was associated with few measures. Implications are discussed for the interdependence model of relationships and the transactional model of jealousy.

Read this research for free

Article details

Attridge, M. (2013). Jealousy and Relationship Closeness: Exploring the Good (Reactive) and Bad (Suspicious) Sides of Romantic Jealousy SAGE Open, 3 (1) DOI: 10.1177/2158244013476054

     
This entry was posted in Psychology, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.