Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2028-1



Jealousy is a cognitive or emotional response of insecurity or inferiority that occurs when there is a perceived threat to a valued social relationship, resulting in actions that mitigate the threat.


Jealousy refers to a cognitive or emotional response of insecurity or inferiority that occurs when there is a perceived threat to a valued social relationship, resulting in actions that mitigate the threat. Different types of jealousy are based on different contexts under which threats to relationships occur, including intimate relationships, siblings, rivals, friends, and peers.

Sexual and Emotional Jealousy

Sexual and emotional jealousy within romantic relationships seems to have evolved in response to conflicting interests between the sexes. Due to concealed ovulation, men faced uncertain paternity and the possible investment in their rival’s offspring, known as cuckoldry risk....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Berg, A., & Brems, S. (1989). A case for promoting breastfeeding in projects to limit fertility (World Bank technical paper no. 102). Washington, DC: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.Google Scholar
  2. Bleske, A. L., & Buss, D. M. (2000). Can men and women be just friends? Personal Relationships, 7(2), 131–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bullough, V. L. (1976). Sexual variance in society and history. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Buss, D. M. (1988). From vigilance to violence: Tactics of mate retention in American undergraduates. Ethology and Sociobiology, 9, 291–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buss, D. M. (1989). Conflict between the sexes: Strategic interference and the evocation of anger and upset. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(5), 735–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buss, D. M. (1995). Psychological sex differences: Origins through sexual selection. American Psychologist, 50, 164–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997). From vigilance to violence: Mate retention tactics in married couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(2), 346–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buss, D.M., Larsen, R.J., Westen, D. & Semmekoth, J. (1992). Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution, physiology, and psychology. Psychological Science, 3, 251–252.Google Scholar
  9. Buunk, B., & Bringle, R. G. (1987). Jealousy in love relationships. In D. Perlman & S. Duck (Eds.), Intimate relationships: Development, dynamics, and deterioration (pp. 123–148). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Buunk, A. P., & Dijkstra, P. (2015). Rival characteristics that provoke jealousy: A study in Iraqi Kurdistan. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 9, 116–127.Google Scholar
  11. Buunk, A. P., Goor, J. A., & Solano, A. C. (2010). Intrasexual competition at work: Sex differences in the jealousy-evoking effect of rival characteristics in work settings. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(5), 671–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Campbell, A. (2004). Female competition: Causes, constraints, content, and contexts. Journal of Sex Research, 41(1), 16–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Conde-Agudelo, A., Rosas-Bermudez, A., Castaño, F., & Norton, M. H. (2012). Effects of birth spacing on maternal, perinatal, infant, and child health: A systematic review of causal mechanisms. Studies in Family Planning, 43(2), 93–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Daly, M., Wilson, M. I., & Weghorst, S. J. (1982). Male sexual jealousy. Ethology & Sociobiology, 3(1), 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fotso, J. C., Cleland, J., Mberu, B., Mutua, M., & Elungata, P. (2013). Birth spacing and child mortality: An analysis of prospective data from the Nairobi urban health and demographic surveillance system. Journal of Biosocial Science, 45, 779–798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harris, C. R. (2003). Factors associated with jealousy over real and imagined infidelity: An examination of the social-cognitive and evolutionary psychology perspectives. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27(4), 319–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hart, S. L. (2016a). Proximal foundations of jealousy: Expectations of exclusivity in the infant’s first year of life. Emotion Review, 8, 358–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hart, S. L. (2016b). Jealousy protest: Ontogeny in accord with the 9-month period of human gestation. Evolutionary Psychology, 14, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hart, S. L. (2018). Jealousy and attachment: Adaptations to threat posed by the birth of a sibling. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12(4), 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hill, C. A. (1987). Affiliation motivation: People who need people… but in different ways. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(5), 1008–1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hill, R., & Davis, P. (2000). “Platonic jealousy”: A conceptualization and review of the literature on non-romantic pathological jealousy. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 73(4), 505–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaplan, D. L., & Keys, C. B. (1997). Sex and relationship variables as predictors of sexual attraction in cross-sex platonic friendships between young heterosexual adults. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14(2), 191–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leary, M. R. (1990). Responses to social exclusion: Social anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9(2), 221–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mattingly, B. A., Whitson, D., & Mattingly, M. J. (2012). Development of the romantic jealousy-induction scale and the motives for inducing romantic jealousy scale. Current Psychology, 31(3), 263–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sagarin, B. J., Martin, A. L., Coutinho, S. A., Edlund, J. E., Patel, L., Skowronski, J. J., & Zengel, B. (2012). Sex differences in jealousy: A meta-analytic examination. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(6), 595–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sapadin, L. A. (1988). Friendship and gender: Perspectives of professional men and women. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5(4), 387–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Symons, D. (1979). The evolution of human sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Thapa, S., Short, R. V., & Potts, M. (1988). Breast feeding, birth spacing and their effects on child survival. Nature, 335, 679–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man 1871–1971 (pp. 136–179). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  30. Trivers, R. L. (1974). Parent-offspring conflict. American Zoologist, 14, 249–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. United States Agency for International Development. (2002). Birth spacing: Three to five saves lives. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs.Google Scholar
  32. Wegner, R., Roy, A. R. K., Gorman, K. R., & Ferguson, K. (2018). Attachment, relationship communication style and the use of jealousy induction techniques in romantic relationships. Personality & Individual Differences, 129, 6–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wiederman, M. W., & Kendall, E. (1999). Evolution, sex, and jealousy: Investigation with a sample from Sweden. Evolution and Human Behavior, 20(2), 121–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wilson, M., Johnson, H., & Daly, M. (1995). Lethal and nonlethal violence against wives. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 3, 331–361.Google Scholar
  35. Zurriaga, R., González, N. P., Buunk, A. P., & Dijkstra, P. (2018). Jealousy at work: The role of rivals’ characteristics. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology., 59, 443–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Westfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joseph A. Camilleri
    • 1
  1. 1.Westfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA