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Sex differences in jealousy: A meta-analytic examination

Sex differences in jealousy: A meta-analytic examination
Sex differences in jealousy: A meta-analytic examination

The theory of evolved sex differences in jealousy predicts sex differences in responses to sexual infidelities and emotional infidelities. Critics have argued that such differences are absent in studies that use continuous measures to assess responses to hypothetical infidelities or in studies that assess responses to real infidelities. These criticisms were tested in two random-effects meta-analyses of 40 published and unpublished papers (providing 209 effect sizes from 47 independent samples) that measured sex differences in jealousy using continuous measures. A significant, theory-supportive sex difference emerged across 45 independent samples using continuous measures of responses to hypothetical infidelities, g*=0.258, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.188, 0.328], p<.00001. Measured emotion significantly moderated effect size. Effects were strongest when measures assessed distress/upset (g*=0.337) and jealousy (g*=0.309). Other commonly measured negative emotions yielded weaker effects, including hurt (g*=0.161), anger (g*=0.074), and disgust (g*=0.012). Across the 45 independent samples, six significant moderators emerged: random sampling, population type (student vs. nonstudent samples), age, inclusion of a forced-choice question, number of points in the response scale, and year of publication. A significant, theory-supportive effect also emerged across seven studies assessing reactions to actual infidelities, g*=0.234, 95% CI [0.020, 0.448], p=03. Results demonstrate that the sex difference in jealousy neither is an artifact of response format nor is limited to responses to hypothetical infidelities.

Evolution, Jealousy, Meta-analysis, Sex differences
1090-5138
595-614
Sagarin, Brad J.
66e322be-de6b-49f1-9a0c-6f7ba1406d32
Martin, Amy L.
a8c8b6b9-c3bd-444c-a9d6-0fba6d4955dc
Coutinho, Savia A.
10401910-e7f4-4d8e-a26d-324fb7df0a4d
Edlund, John E.
d1afb90a-dc0c-4ace-a374-c3bbbb755483
Patel, Lily
4435114b-29b1-41b4-be4d-ad5567d0519f
Skowronski, John J.
47eb23aa-177b-4634-b986-5b935998bf6b
Zengel, Bettina
9d343ec9-7b10-45e3-b818-41287d9c4bd5
Sagarin, Brad J.
66e322be-de6b-49f1-9a0c-6f7ba1406d32
Martin, Amy L.
a8c8b6b9-c3bd-444c-a9d6-0fba6d4955dc
Coutinho, Savia A.
10401910-e7f4-4d8e-a26d-324fb7df0a4d
Edlund, John E.
d1afb90a-dc0c-4ace-a374-c3bbbb755483
Patel, Lily
4435114b-29b1-41b4-be4d-ad5567d0519f
Skowronski, John J.
47eb23aa-177b-4634-b986-5b935998bf6b
Zengel, Bettina
9d343ec9-7b10-45e3-b818-41287d9c4bd5

Sagarin, Brad J., Martin, Amy L., Coutinho, Savia A., Edlund, John E., Patel, Lily, Skowronski, John J. and Zengel, Bettina (2012) Sex differences in jealousy: A meta-analytic examination. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33 (6), 595-614. (doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.02.006).

Record type: Review

Abstract

The theory of evolved sex differences in jealousy predicts sex differences in responses to sexual infidelities and emotional infidelities. Critics have argued that such differences are absent in studies that use continuous measures to assess responses to hypothetical infidelities or in studies that assess responses to real infidelities. These criticisms were tested in two random-effects meta-analyses of 40 published and unpublished papers (providing 209 effect sizes from 47 independent samples) that measured sex differences in jealousy using continuous measures. A significant, theory-supportive sex difference emerged across 45 independent samples using continuous measures of responses to hypothetical infidelities, g*=0.258, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.188, 0.328], p<.00001. Measured emotion significantly moderated effect size. Effects were strongest when measures assessed distress/upset (g*=0.337) and jealousy (g*=0.309). Other commonly measured negative emotions yielded weaker effects, including hurt (g*=0.161), anger (g*=0.074), and disgust (g*=0.012). Across the 45 independent samples, six significant moderators emerged: random sampling, population type (student vs. nonstudent samples), age, inclusion of a forced-choice question, number of points in the response scale, and year of publication. A significant, theory-supportive effect also emerged across seven studies assessing reactions to actual infidelities, g*=0.234, 95% CI [0.020, 0.448], p=03. Results demonstrate that the sex difference in jealousy neither is an artifact of response format nor is limited to responses to hypothetical infidelities.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 February 2012
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 May 2012
Published date: November 2012
Keywords: Evolution, Jealousy, Meta-analysis, Sex differences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413077
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413077
ISSN: 1090-5138
PURE UUID: 4834f158-8c8a-47a5-962c-0f2ebd297b85
ORCID for Bettina Zengel: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0871-3158

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Aug 2017 16:31
Last modified: 17 Sep 2019 00:28

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