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His or hers jealousy? Study offers new explanation for sex differences in jealousy
Date:1/26/2010

ile others tend to be more dismissive of the need for close attachment relationships. Psychologists see this compulsive self-reliance as a defensive strategyprotection against deep-seated feelings of vulnerability. Levy and Kelly hypothesized that these individuals would tend to be concerned with the sexual aspects of relationships rather than emotional intimacy.

Similar to earlier studies examining sex differences in jealousy, Levy and Kelly asked men and women which they would find more distressingsexual infidelity or emotional infidelity. Participants also completed additional assessments including a standard and well validated measure of attachment style in romantic relationships.

Findings confirmed the scientists' hypotheses. As Levy & Kelly report in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, those with a dismissing attachment style who prize their autonomy in relationships over commitmentwere much more upset about sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity. And conversely, those securely attached in relationshipsincluding securely attached menwere much more likely to find emotional betrayal more upsetting.

The scientists state that these findings imply that the psychological and cultural-environmental mechanisms underlying sex differences in jealousy may have greater roles than previously recognized and suggest that jealousy is more multiply determined than previously hypothesized.

Additionally, placing jealousy within an attachment theoretical perspective, highlights the value of a taking a more nuanced approach relative to earlier research, points to new research possibilities, and suggests that promoting secure attachment may be an effective means of reducing the kind of sexual jealousy that contributes to domestic violence.


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Contact: Catherine Allen-West
cwest@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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