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Jealousy in romantic relationships, self-esteem and ego defenses

By Sabrina Adams


Despite the theoretical link between jealousy and self-esteem, research has\ud yielded inconsistent results with regard to this relationship (review: White & Mullen,\ud 1989). Although defenses such as projection, denial and repression have been linked\ud with jealousy (Freud, 1922), there has been no research to date exploring this\ud relationship. This quantitative study used self-report questionnaires, and aimed to\ud contribute to previous research on jealousy and self-esteem, and defenses and selfesteem,\ud and to explore the relationship between jealousy and defenses. Participants\ud consisted of a convenience sample of 188 individuals aged from 20 to 81 years (M =\ud 38.3, SD = 15.47), and included 73 men and 112 women. Measures included a brief\ud demographic questionnaire, an 8-item dispositional jealousy measure (Melamed,\ud 1991), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), and the Defense Style\ud Questionnaire (DSQ-40; Andrews, Singh & Bond, 1993). The hypothesis that\ud jealousy and self-esteem would be negatively correlated was supported for the overall\ud sample (r = -.31, p = .005), however when split by gender there was a correlation for\ud women (r = -.37, p = .0005), but not for men. The findings supported the hypothesis\ud that jealousy would be positively correlated with immature defenses (r = .34, p =\ud .0005) and negatively correlated with mature defenses (r = -.32, p = .0005). Jealousy\ud was also positively correlated with the individual defenses of undoing, projection,\ud passive aggression, acting out, devaluation, autistic fantasy, displacement, splitting,\ud and somatization. Jealousy was negatively correlated with the individual defenses of\ud sublimation, humor and suppression. The relationship between jealousy and defenses\ud was often considerably stronger for men than for women. It was concluded that a\ud relationship between jealousy and self-esteem did indeed exist, however this was only the case for women. For men, jealousy was found to be particularly associated with\ud use of defenses

Topics: 1701 Psychology, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, defences, humour, defensiveness
Year: 2012
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