Biological Sex and Psychological Gender Differences in the Experience and Expression of Romantic Jealousy
Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland
Romantic jealousy is a multidimensional response to a perceived threat to one’s relationship or self-esteem and the specific emotions experienced in the process are complex and interrelated, affecting one another. Many researchers focus on jealousy-related sex differences, however there are few studies exploring gender-specific jealousy. The current study investigated whether individuals representing various types of biological sex and psychological gender differ in their experience and expression of romantic jealousy. The study involved 367 subjects (213 women, 154 men) ranging in age from 18 to 40 years. The assessments were carried out using the Psychological Gender Inventory based on gender schema theory, proposed by Bem, and the author’s own Questionnaire on the Emotion of Romantic Jealousy. The results of MANOVA showed associations between romantic jealousy and both biological sex and psychological gender, however efforts to save the relationship appear to be the only gender-differentiated response to jealousy. Those with a high level of feminine traits are more likely to take action to preserve their relationships. Overall negative emotions elicited by a partner’s infidelity are stronger in women and in feminine individuals. The results confirm it is necessary to take psychological gender into account in research focusing on jealousy. The findings, however, do not support claims suggesting that men and masculine individuals tend to respond with stronger aggression to a partner’s infidelity, as proposed in the literature.