Two sides of one coin? Jealousy, Self-Affirmation, and Self-Defamation



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Although theorists of romantic jealousy differ regarding its origins and functions, all agree that the defining feature of jealousy is a romantic triangle involving three people: the jealous person, his or her relationship partner, and a real (or imagined) relationship threat. Moreover, volumes of research support the notion that jealousy is not a one-dimensional emotion but rather a multidimensional construct involving a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Furthermore, there is extensive research indicating that there are specific behaviors a romantic partner may engage in that are likely to produce a jealousy reaction, as well as certain rival characteristics that have been found to be associated with jealousy. Studies 1 and 2 aimed to extend the study of jealousy through the use of self-affirmation theory (SAT) by using SAT manipulations to reduce jealous thoughts and behaviors. Study 1results suggest that SAT was effective at reducing jealous thoughts and behavioral intentions. Moreover, the results of study 2 replicated the findings of study 1 using an alternative affirmation, specifically SAT once again led to reductions in jealous thoughts and behavioral intentions. Additionally, study 2 expanded upon self-affirmation through examining the darker side of self-statements by examining self-defaming statements in the context of jealousy. The results suggest that self-defaming participants evidenced increases in jealous thoughts and behavioral intentions. The findings are discussed in terms of the larger theoretical relevance as well as practical applications.



Romantic jealousy, Relationship threat, Factors associated with jealousy, Jealousy theory, Self-affirmation theory, Self-defamation, Defensive responding