Jealousy and the meaning (or nonmeaning) of violence

Sylvia Puente, Dov Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has indicated that jealousy is one of the major triggers of domestic violence. Three studies here examined North Americans' ambivalent feelings about jealousy and jealousy-related aggression. In Study 1, it was shown that participants believed both that jealousy can be a sign of insecurity and a sign of love. In Study 2, it was shown that this equating of jealousy with love can lead to the tacit acceptance of jealousy-related violence. In Study 3, it was shown that a relative acceptance of jealousy-related aggression extends to cases of emotional and sexual abuse by husbands against their wives. In both Studies 2 and 3, men who hit or abused their wives over a jealousy-related matter were judged to romantically love their wives as much as those who did not engage in abuse. Violence in the context of a non-jealousy-related argument was seen quite negatively, but it lost a great deal of its negativity in the jealousy case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-460
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Domestic violence
  • Jealousy
  • Jealousy-related aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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