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Why was the study conducted?

Dating and courtship jealousy has not been thoroughly examined in empirical research. This appears to be an important omission as the socialization of young actors is one function of dating. The researchers conducted the study to assess the association that exists between various situational and personality factors and jealousy.

What the researchers did?

The study sample was made up of 100 students who volunteered to participate in the study. All study participants were female students from East Carolina University. Participants were recruited through the psychological department subject pool. In return, participants were to receive a credit in a psychology class. The students ranged between 18 years to 28 years. The study sample comprised 22 African Americans, 74 whites and 4 from other races. 75 were in steady relationships. 70 reported dating seriously, 19 were dating casually, and 11 were either married or engaged. Questionnaires were used as the data collecting tools. Pines and Aranson’s 8-item jealousy scale was used to measure jealousy. The Zung Anxiety, positive affect, Zung self-rating depression scale and negative affect were used to measure neuroticism. Respondents also completed the Rosenberg’s Self-Description Scale to measure self-esteem.

What were the results?

The researchers examined 6 research questions to determine the results. The study results showed lower levels of jealousy among women in steady dating relationship compared to those in exclusive relationships. Those who were in more satisfying relations with dating partner showed lower levels of jealousy compared to women who were less satisfied with their dating relationship. Women with lower levels of self-esteem and higher neuroticism reported high levels of jealousy compared to those scoring higher in self-esteem and lower in neuroticism. The researchers did not find any clear association between jealousy and commitment or exclusivity of the relationship. The study results show a significant difference in means as female students who were in a steady dating relationship recorded less jealousy compared to those who were in casual relationships. Jealousy scores decreased as satisfaction with the relationship increased. Evidently, women who are least satisfied with a relationship feel more jealous.

The study results also showed a less significant Pearson Product Moment Correlation of 09 (p= .39) between Jealousy scores and Commitment. Jealousy did not affect the level of the endorsed level of dedication to the relationship. The results showed a statistically significant level of correlation between Jealousy and self-esteem. As self-esteem decreased, Jealousy scores become higher. Women with high levels of self-esteem display lower levels of jealousy in a relationship. Additionally, women with less steady relationships reported lower levels of jealousy than those dating on a casual basis. The results suggest that having a steady dating partner increases security and reduce proneness towards jealousy. However, the result showed that jealousy scores tended to be lower for women in committed relationships even though the difference did not reach statistically significant levels. Hence, there were no significant levels of jealousy between women who felt more committed to their dating relationship and those who had lower levels of commitment.

What are the implications of these findings?

Jealousy has been defined as complex emotions, thoughts, and acquisitions that follow the threat of, loss of self-esteem or quality of the dating relationship. The perceived threat is generated by the perception of potential or real romantic attraction. Much of the psychological theory on research has emphasized the role of different factors in influencing jealousy. This study focused on self-esteem, commitment and exclusivity as factors that affect the levels of jealousy. Few studies have examined the causal effects of the variables on the occurrence of jealousy. Additionally, previous researchers have found contradictory results after examining the possible association between jealousy and different variables. This study shows that these factors have significant relationships with jealousy. Women who reported lower levels of jealousy were likely to be in steady dating relationship rather than in exclusive relationships. Being involved in a more satisfying relationship with dating partner showed also had an effect on jealousy levels. Women with lower levels of self-esteem and higher neuroticism reported high levels of jealousy compared to those scoring higher in self-esteem and lower in neuroticism. The study contributes significantly to a range of studies examining the relationship between variables and jealousy.

What you thought of the study.

Like other emotions, jealousy serves human survival. It is an important emotion that alerts individuals in a painful way that their values that something crucial might be slipping away. Thus it is a resulting response to a perceived threat in a relationship. Given that it can lead to dissatisfaction and other negative consequences, it is important o understand which variables are linked to jealousy so as to better understand the emotion and its expression. While most research on jealousy focuses on the relationship between one psychological factor and jealousy, this study has focused on various variables. The studies effectively show the link between self-esteem, relationship commitment, exclusivity, and jealousy depending on the interplay of different situational factors.



Khanchandani, L., & Durham, T. W. (2009). Jealousy during dating among female college students. College Student Journal, 43(4), 1272.

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