Are self-compassionate partners less jealous? Exploring the mediation effects of anger rumination and willingness to forgive on the association between self-compassion and romantic jealousy

  • Nancy Tandler
  • Lars-Eric Petersen


Self-compassion promotes well-being and positive outcomes when encountering negative life events. The current study investigates the relation between self-compassion and romantic jealousy in adults’ romantic relationships, and the possible mediation effects of anger rumination and willingness to forgive on this relation. Romantic jealousy was conceptualized as reactive, which is a more emotional type, and as anxious, which is a more cognitive type. We hypothesized a negative association between self-compassion and romantic jealousy. In the present study 185 German adults (64 men, 121 women) participated, aged between 18 and 56 years (M = 32.28, SD = 12.14) who were in a romantic relationship. The participants completed the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS, Neff in Self and Identity, 2, 223–250, 2003a), a reactive and anxious jealousy scale (Buunk in Personality and Individual Differences, 23(6), 997–1006, 1997), a willingness to forgive scale (TRIM, McCullough et al. 2000) and the Anger Rumination Scale (ARS, Sukhodolsky et al. in Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 689–700, 2001). Supporting our hypotheses, hierarchical regression analyses showed that self-compassion predicts reactive and anxious jealousy when controlling for age and gender, suggesting that high self-compassionate people are less prone to experience romantic jealousy. Multiple parallel mediation analyses revealed that the effects on reactive jealousy were partially mediated by willingness to forgive, while no significant mediation was found for the effects on anxious jealousy. Additionally, we report the results of exploratory analyses testing the associations of the self-compassion subscales with romantic jealousy. We discuss theoretical conclusions for jealousy and self-compassion research and practical implications for couple’s therapy.


Anger rumination Romantic jealousy Self-compassion Self-compassion subscales Willingness to forgive 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany

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