The sex difference in jealousy has more to do with a sex difference in emotional jealousy due to socialisation
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Objectives: Various studies have reported mixed results during their investigation of the sex difference in jealousy. The debate rages as to whether men do in fact respond more jealous to sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity compared to women and whether women respond more jealous to emotional infidelity than sexual infidelity compared to men. This study examines the nature of the sex difference in jealousy with particular focus on three main issues: Firstly, whether the paradigm is simply an artefact of measurement. Secondly, whether the proposed sex difference is mainly due to the sex difference in emotional jealousy and thirdly, whether the sex difference in jealousy is due to evolution. Method: We studied jealousy using the same group of participants, male (n = 56) and female (n = 65), on a variety of different measures including Schützwohl’s (2006) information search, Buss et al.’s (1992) hypothetical dilemmas and Michalski, Shackelford and Salmon’s (2007) dilemmas involving siblings. The analysis of data included Chi Squares, t-tests and Analysis of Variance. Results: The sex difference in jealousy was apparent in measures other than the forced-choice, hypothetical dilemma measure and the sex difference for emotional jealousy survived on more measures than the sex difference for sexual jealousy. However, there was no effect found for sex of sibling but there was an effect found for sex of participant. Conclusions: Our results support the view that the sex difference in jealousy is more to do with a sex difference in emotional jealousy due to a female sensitivity to emotional infidelity. In addition, the sex difference in jealousy was not found to be an artefact of measurement. However, we found no evidence to support the evolutionary theory of jealousy due to the fact we did not find an effect for sex of sibling and also because of the lack of support for a mechanism to prevent cuckoldry (sexual jealousy).