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Studies have found that more men than women endorse sexual infidelity as more distressing than emotional infidelity, whereas more women than men endorse emotional infidelity as more distressing than sexual infidelity. Some evolutionary psychologists have proposed that this sex difference can be best conceptualized as reflecting evolution-based differences in parental investment that produce a need for paternity certainty among men and a need for male investment in offspring among women. Nonetheless, a conspicuous subset of men report emotional infidelity as more distressing than sexual infidelity. Current theorizing explains between-sex differences but not within-sex differences. We hypothesized that attachment-style differences may help to explain both between- and within-sex differences in jealousy. As hypothesized, dismissing avoidant participants reported more jealousy regarding sexual than emotional infidelity (64.8%), and secure participants, including secure men, reported more jealousy regarding emotional than sexual infidelity (77.3%), chi(2)(3, N = 411) = 45.03, p < .001. A series of sequential logistic regression analyses indicated significant moderation of the sex-jealousy relationship by attachment style. Implications of an attachment perspective are discussed.
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... Anxiously attached individuals show a higher amount of jealousy to jealousy-provoking situations (such as being touched by a close friend) while people with avoidance attachment style are less likely to express severe jealousy in these situations (Miller et al., 2014). It is demonstrated that emotional unfaithfulness is more upsetting than sexual infidelity for people with anxious attachment style (Levy & Kelly, 2010) and women (Tagler & Gentry, 2011) while people with avoidance attachment style (Levy & Kelly, 2010) and men (Tagler & Gentry, 2011) find sexual infidelity more upsetting than emotional infidelity. ...
... Anxiously attached individuals show a higher amount of jealousy to jealousy-provoking situations (such as being touched by a close friend) while people with avoidance attachment style are less likely to express severe jealousy in these situations (Miller et al., 2014). It is demonstrated that emotional unfaithfulness is more upsetting than sexual infidelity for people with anxious attachment style (Levy & Kelly, 2010) and women (Tagler & Gentry, 2011) while people with avoidance attachment style (Levy & Kelly, 2010) and men (Tagler & Gentry, 2011) find sexual infidelity more upsetting than emotional infidelity. ...
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This study examined the mediating role of romantic jealousy (cognitive, behavioral, and emotional jealousies) in the relationship between romantic attachment styles and both types of mate retention domains (cost-inflicting and benefit- provisioning mate retention behaviors) in married individuals in Iran. Our sample consisted of 209 married adults. The results showed that: (1) there was a positive correlation between anxious attachment style and both cost-inflicting and benefit-provisioning mate retention behaviors; (2) avoidance attachment style had a negative association with benefit- provisioning mate retention behaviors; (3) three types of romantic jealousy positively mediated the association between anxious attachment style and cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors; (4) the relationship between avoidance attachment style and the cost-inflicting domain was negatively mediated by emotional jealousy.
... In the realm of the sex difference in jealousy, very few studies have reported moderators to the sex difference in jealousy. One exception to this is the work done by Levy and Kelly (2010). Among the findings noted by Levy and Kelly was an increased propensity for securely attached men to be more bothered by the emotional aspects of an infidelity (compared to insecurely attached men). ...
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Sex differences in jealousy are a well-established research finding that suggests men (relative to women) will find the sexual components of an infidelity more distressing, whereas women (relative to men) will find the emotional components of an infidelity more distressing. This study uses a relatively novel sample of participants (individuals who engage in consensual non-monogamy) to test both cultural and evolutionary influences on jealousy. In our study using hypothetical scenarios, we found that men (relative to women) were more upset about the sexual components of the infidelity and that women (relative to men) were more upset about the emotional components of the infidelity. This occurred in both samples to the same magnitude suggesting that the differences between the men and women may be driven by evolutionary influences. Additionally, we found a main effect of relationship type such that participants who engaged in consensual non-monogamy had lower levels of jealousy overall. As such, this study provides relatively unique evidence for the ultimate origins of sex differences in jealousy.
... Levy, K., Kelly, K. (2010), 'Sex Differences in Jealousy: A Contribution from Attachment ...
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The research aims to understand why people engage in cheating and why their partners forgive them, while some do not. The highly sensitive nature of the topic inquired upon is related to a lot of factors which involve, trust, shame, lust, etc. each of these factors shed light onto how a relationship is constructed in the current sociological perspective. A clear-cut definition of ‘relationship’ is provided, strictly in relation to a monogamous culture. To fully comprehend the act of cheating, the essential prerequisite is to differentiate between the types of cheating- sexual and emotional. The research is a qualitative venture into understanding the behaviour due to its complex nature and how a post-positivist approach would not deem to be fruitful for it. A total number nineteen participants were involved in the research, which were later split into three groups, whose detailed explanation is provided in the ‘Methods’ section. There has been use of few quantitative tools to support few instances of data which were essential to the study. However, the heart of the study remains purely qualitative in nature. Thematic analysis was further chosen as the type of analysis to comprehend the data and to successfully create themes and sub-themes. Proximity came out as a major factor in understanding why people engage in infidelity, however infidelity does not mean the individual has ceased to love their partner. The issue runs more complex. The research also differentiates between ‘forgiveness’ and ‘second chances’, these entities help in understanding the complex nature of the act of infidelity and how the partner who has been cheated on tolerates and makes their peace with the incident. Factors like suppression of emotions, which are largely full of contempt and negative are required for the relationship to start again, which is a tough task for the couple, especially the one who has been cheated on.
... In order to investigate the two aims of the present studycomparing the Big Five personality traits and attachment as predictors of jealousy; and assessing gender, relationship status, and infidelity experience as moderators of the relationships between jealousy, personality traits, and attachment dimensionswe administered measures of all three constructs to a large community sample of participants in Germany and Switzerland. Many previous studies on the link between romantic jealousy and attachment (Buunk, 1997;Sharpsteen and Kirkpatrick, 1997;Guerrero, 1998;Powers, 2000;Karakurt, 2001;Levy and Kelly, 2010) used vignette self-categorization measures of attachment style (Hazan and Shaver, 1987;Bartholomew and Horowitz, 1991). Given the limited variance of categorical measures, we used a more fine-grained dimensional self-report approach as recommended by Ravitz et al. (2010). ...
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Functional relationships between romantic jealousy and traits, such as neuroticism or adult attachment styles, are well-known. For the first time, we conducted a joint analysis of the Big Five traits and attachment dimensions as predictors of jealousy, which considered gender differences as well as differences in infidelity experiences and relationship status. In 847 participants, path modeling showed that higher neuroticism, lower agreeableness, and lower openness predicted higher romantic jealousy. The attachment dimensions "anxiety" and "depend" partly mediated the effect of neuroticism and fully mediated the effect of agreeableness on romantic jealousy. The direct and indirect relationships did not differ as a function of gender, relationship status, and infidelity experiences. These findings contribute to a better understanding of individual differences in romantic jealousy from a personality perspective.
... Consistent with Bowlby's theory, attachment security provides the adult individual an internal resource of stress regulation which is evoked when stressful internal or external pressures emerge and may buffer against the deleterious results of such pressures. A number of studies have found similar results, in which attachment style moderates the effect of other primary contributors to stress reactivity (e.g., temperament [Gunnar et al., 1996, Stevenson-Hinde & Marshall, 1999; jealousy [Levy & Kelly, 2010]). In the context of sex and stress response, secure attachment would be expected to attenuate evolutionarily driven sex differences in stress response style by promoting a general tendency across both men and women towards tend-and-befriend behavior as a stress regulatory function (Del Giudice, 2009). ...
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In 2000, Taylor and colleagues proposed the “tend-and-befriend” hypothesis, which posits that women utilize an alternative stress response to fight-or-flight, promoting the survival of themselves and their offspring (tend) through the formation of groups (befriend). Although there has been support for this hypothesis since, Levy and colleagues (2019) demonstrated that while sexes may differentially use tend-and-befriend behaviors, attachment orientation is a more robust predictor of these behaviors. In the current investigation, we aim to replicate Levy et al. (2019) using the same methodology with 2 unique samples: a university sample (N = 557) and an online global community sample (N = 300). Results support previous findings, such that across groups attachment anxiety positively predicts all 3 stress responses, and attachment avoidance negatively predicts tend/befriend responses, all independent of sex. We also found that, after accounting for general stress reactivity, tend-and-befriend response was associated with greater attachment security, unlike fight-or-flight responses. There were no consistent sex differences across the samples until after accounting for general stress reactivity, at which point women endorsed more flight response and men more fight response; however, women and men both endorsed being most likely to engage in tend/befriend behaviors during stress than other responses. Our findings, in addition to Levy et al. (2019), suggest that while sex differences in self-reported tend-and-befriend behaviors may exist, exploration within sex (an important oversight of previous research) indicates a different pattern of results. We found evidence that attachment orientation is a robust predictor of all forms of stress response, even after accounting for sex, indicating the importance of attachment behavior in stress responsivity and largely replicating previous results of Levy et al. (2019).
... Numerous studies with different patient populations, treatment modalities as well as therapeutic approaches have shown that patients' attachment characteristics and attachment related interpersonal expectations predict treatment outcome in psychotherapy (Levy et al., 2011). Since attachment states of mind influence emotion regulation processes, the therapists' attachment states of mind also have an effect on the psychotherapeutic process and outcome (Levy and Kelly, 2010;Slade and Holmes, 2019), the ability to develop an intimate therapeutic relationship (Mallinckrodt, 2000), to handle alliance ruptures and to manage counter-transference in the therapeutic relationship (Ligiéro and Gelso, 2002;Mohr et al., 2005;Slade and Holmes, 2019). Romano et al. (2009) have even shown that the therapist's attachment representation influences the patient's experienced attachment to the therapist. ...
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Objectives: The present naturalistic study aims to investigate the differential effects of the patient’s and the therapist’s attachment representations on the attachment to the therapist as perceived by the patient, and their impact on self-esteem-change through psychotherapy. Methods: Attachment variables of N = 573 patients as well as N = 16 therapists were assessed. Attachment representations were measured for therapists and patients via the Bielefelder Questionnaire for Client Attachment Exploration, the Relationship Specific Attachment to Therapist Scales and the Adult Attachment Interview. The patient’s attachment to therapists was evaluated and patients’ self-esteem was measured via the Frankfurter Selbstkonzeptskalen at the beginning and end of psychotherapy. Results: Although there were significant effects of the patient’s attachment representations on the perceived attachment to the therapist as well as between the perceived attachment to the therapist and the amount of self-esteem-change, the therapist’s attachment style had no significant influence on the perceived attachment to the therapist. Conclusion: Self-esteem-change through psychotherapy is influenced by the actually formed attachment relationship as perceived by the patient. The patient’s attachment representations but not the therapist’s attachment style contributes to the actual patient’s attachment to the therapist.
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