Psychophysiological Markers of Jealousy vs. Anger

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This study primarily investigates some of the boundaries and definitions of jealousy and the ways that it differs from anger. We theorize that jealousy may elicit a threat response while anger may elicit a challenge response, which we investigated using impedance cardiography. We also examined heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and blood pressure to look for other possible physiological difference between anger and jealousy. In order to further understand the experience of jealousy, we investigated the relation between an individual?s self-esteem and his/her coping with jealousy, as well as the relation between an individual?s attachment style and his/her coping with jealousy. We also hypothesized that a greater difference in social status, both in the United States and in the social circle, between members of the couple would lead to poorer coping with jealousy. The participant?s physiological measures were monitored during three writing trials (jealousy, anger, neutral) and he/she completed a series of questionnaires. We did not see the expected distinction between jealousy and anger in the physiological responses based on the difference in cardiovascular response during threat and challenge, although other differences were observed. Our hypothesis that lower self-esteem would predict poorer coping with jealousy was marginally confirmed. The hypotheses about social status difference within the couple and attachment style were not confirmed. Overall this study was a good preliminary exploration of jealousy that has lead us to focus on new questions for future research.


Roberta Mancuso




Fletcher Jones Science Scholar Award

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