Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

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.

References

  1. Allen, A. B., & Leary, M. R. (2010). Self-compassion, stress, and coping. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(2), 107–118.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00246.x CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Barelds, D. H. P., & Barelds-Dijkstra, P. (2007). Relations between different types of jealousy and self and partner perceptions of relationship quality. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 14(3), 176–188.  https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.532 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bear, R. A., Lykins, E. L. B., & Peters, J. R. (2012). Mindfulness and self-compassion as predictors of psychological wellbeing in long-term meditators and matched nonmeditators. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(3), 230–238.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2012.674548 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bringle, R. G., & Buunk, B. (1985). Jealousy and social behavior: A review of person, relationship, and situational determinants. In P. Shaver (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (pp. 241–264). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Brion, J. M., Leary, M. R., & Drabkin, A. S. (2014). Self-compassion and reactions to serious illness: The case of HIV. Journal of Health Psychology, 19(2), 218–229.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105312467391 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  7. Buss, D. M., Larsen, R. J., Westen, D., & Semmelroth, J. (1992). Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution, physiology, and psychology. Psychological Science, 3, 251–255.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1992.tb00038.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buunk, B. P. (1995). Sex, self-esteem, dependency and extradyadic sexual experience as related to jealousy responses. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12(1), 147–153.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407595121011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buunk, B. P. (1997). Personality, birth order and attachment styles as related to various types of jealousy. Personality and Individual Differences, 23(6), 997–1006.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(97)00136-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buunk, B. P., & Dijkstra, P. (2004). Jealousy as a function of rival characteristics and type of infidelity. Personal Relationships, 11(4), 395–409.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2004.00089.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buunk, B. P., & Dijkstra, P. (2006). Temptations and threat: Extradyadic relationships and jealousy. In A. L. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (pp. 533–556). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carson, C. L., & Cupach, W. R. (2000). Fueling the flames of the green-eyed monster: The role of ruminative thought in reaction to romantic jealousy. Western Journal of Communication, 64(3), 308–329.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10570310009374678 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chung, M. S. (2016). Relation between lack of forgiveness and depression: The moderating effect of self-compassion. Psychological Reports, 119(3), 573–585.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0033294116663520 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Coyne, I., & Bartram, D. (2006). Design and development of the ITC guidelines on computer-based and internet-delivered testing. International Journal of Testing, 6(2), 133–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DiBlasio, F. A. (2000). Decision-based forgiveness treatment in cases of marital infidelity. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 37(2), 149–158.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0087834 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dijkstra, P., & Barelds, D. P. (2008). Self and partner personality and responses to relationship threats. Journal of Research in Personality, 42(6), 1500–1511.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2008.06.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elphinston, R., Feeney, J., Noller, P., Fitzgerald, J., & Connor, J. P. (2013). Romantic jealousy and relationship satisfaction: The costs of rumination. Western Journal of Communication, 77, 293–304.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10570314.2013.770161 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Enright, R. D., & Coyle, C. T. (1998). Researching the process model of forgiveness within psychological interventions. In E. L. Worthington (Ed.), Dimensions of forgiveness: Psychological research and theological perspectives (pp. 139–161). Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  19. Farrelly, D., Lazarus, J., & Roberts, G. (2007). Altruists attract. Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 313–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fisher, H. (2000). Lust, attraction, attachment: Biology and evolution of the three primary emotion systems for mating, reproduction, and parenting. Journal of Sex Education & Therapy, 25(1), 96–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fresnics, A., & Borders, A. (2017). Angry rumination mediates the unique associations between self-compassion and anger and aggression. Mindfulness, 8(3), 554–564.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0629-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fritz, M. S., & MacKinnon, D. P. (2007). Required sample size to detect the mediated effect. Psychological Science, 18, 233–239 Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843527/.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Gosling, S. D., Vazire, S., Srivastava, S., & John, O. P. (2004). Should we trust web-based studies? A comparative analysis of six preconceptions about internet questionnaires. American Psychologist, 59(2), 93–104.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.59.2.93 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Harris, C. R. (2003). A review of sex differences in sexual jealousy, including self-report data, psychophysiological responses, interpersonal violence, and morbid jealousy. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7(2), 102–128.  https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327957PSPR0702_102-128 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  26. Holmes, T. H., & Rahe, R. H. (1967). The social readjustment rating scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11(2), 213–218.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-3999(67)90010-4 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hupfeld, J., & Ruffieux, N. (2011). Validation of a German version of the self-compassion scale (SCS-D). Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 40, 115–123.  https://doi.org/10.1026/1616-3443/a000088 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kelly, A. C., Zuroff, D. C., & Shapira, L. B. (2009). Soothing oneself and resisting self-attacks: The treatment of two intrapersonal deficits in depression vulnerability. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33, 301–313.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-008-9202-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keng, S. L., & Liew, K. W. L. (2017). Trait mindfulness and self-compassion as moderators of the association between gender nonconformity and psychological health. Mindfulness, 8(3), 615–626.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0639-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kenny, D. A. (1996). Models of nonindependence in dyadic research. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 13, 279–294.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407596132007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Leiner, D. J. (2014). SoSci Survey (Version 2.4.00-i) [computer software]. Retrieved from https://www.sosciurvey.de.
  33. Mathes, E. W. (1991). A cognitive theory of jealousy. In P. Solvey (Ed.), The psychology of jealousy and envy (pp. 52–79). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  34. McCullough, M. E., Pargament, K. I., & Thoresen, C. E. (2000). The psychology of forgiveness: History, conceptual issues, and overview. In M. E. McCullough, K. I. Pargament, & C. E. Thoresen (Eds.), Forgiveness: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 1–14). New York: Guilford.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2012.741897 Google Scholar
  35. McCullough, M. E., Bono, G., & Root, L. M. (2007). Rumination, emotion, and forgiveness: Three longitudinal studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(3), 490–505.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.92.3.490 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, R. B., Nunes, N. A., Bean, R. A., Day, R. D., Falceto, O. G., Hollist, C. S., & Fernandes, C. L. (2014). Marital problems and marital satisfaction among Brazilian couples. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 42(2), 153–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Murphy, T. P., Laible, D. J., Augustine, M., & Robeson, L. (2015). Attachment's links with adolescents' social emotions: The roles of negative emotionality and emotion regulation. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 176(5), 315–329.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2015.1072082 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Neff, K. D. (2003a). Development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223–250.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Neff, K. D. (2003b). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85–102.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Neff, K. D. (2009). Self-compassion. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 561–573). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  41. Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5, 1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Neff, K. D. (2016). Does self-compassion entail reduced self-judgment, isolation, and over-identification? A response to Muris, Otgaar, and Petrocchi (2016). Mindfulness, 7(3), 791–797.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0531-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Neff, K. D., & Beretvas, S. N. (2012). The role of self-compassion in romantic relationships. Self and Identity, 12, 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2011.639548 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2013). A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self-compassion program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(1), 28–44.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.21923 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Neff, K. D., & Pommier, E. (2013). The relationship between self-compassion and other-focused concern among college undergraduates, community adults, and practicing meditators. Self and Identity, 12, 160–176.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2011.649546 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Neff, K. D., Hsieh, Y. P., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4(3), 263–287.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13576500444000317 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Neff, K. D., Kirkpatrick, K., & Rude, S. S. (2007a). Self-compassion and its link to adaptive psychological functioning. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 139–154.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2006.03.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Neff, K. D., Rude, S. S., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2007b). An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 908–916.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2006.08.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Patton, B. (2013). The role of forgiveness in mediating feelings of betrayal within older adult romantic relationships. GRASP: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects, 9, 16–17.Google Scholar
  50. Pfeiffer, S. M., & Wong, P. T. P. (1989). Multidimensional jealousy. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 6, 181–196.  https://doi.org/10.1177/026540758900600203 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rockcliff, H., Gilbert, P., McEwan, K., Lightman, S., & Glover, D. (2008). A pilot exploration of heart rate variability and salivary cortisol response to compassion-focused imagery. Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 5, 132–139.Google Scholar
  52. Sabini, J., & Green, M. C. (2004). Emotional responses to sexual and emotional infidelity: Constants and differences across genders, samples, and methods. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(11), 1375–1388.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167204264012 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Sbarra, D. A., Smith, H. L., & Mehl, M. R. (2012). When leaving your ex, love yourself observational ratings of self-compassion predict the course of emotional recovery following marital separation. Psychological Science, 23, 261–269.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611429466 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D., & Simonsohn, U. (2012, October 14). A 21 Word Solution. Retrieved from https://ssrn.com/abstract=2160588.
  55. Souza, L. K. D., & Hutz, C. S. (2016). Self-compassion in relation to self-esteem, self-efficacy and demographical aspects. Paidéia (Ribeirão Preto), 26(64), 181–188.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-43272664201604 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sukhodolsky, D. G., Golub, A., & Cromwell, E. N. (2001). Development and validation of the anger rumination scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 689–700.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(00)00171-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tagler, M. J. (2010). Sex differences in jealousy: Comparing the influence of previous infidelity among college students and adults. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(4), 353–360.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550610374367 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Werner, R., & Appel, C. (2014). Deutscher Vergebungsfragebogen [German Forgiveness scale]. In D. Danner & A. Glöckner-Rist (Eds.), Zusammenstellung sozialwissenschaftlicher Items und Skalen [Collection items and scales for social science].  https://doi.org/10.6102/zis56.
  59. Yarnell, L., & Neff, K. D. (2012). Self-compassion, interpersonal conflict resolutions, and well-being. Self and Identity, 1–14.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2011.649545
  60. Yarnell, L. M., Stafford, R. E., Neff, K. D., Reilly, E. D., Knox, M. C., & Mullarkey, M. (2015). Meta-analysis of gender differences in self-compassion. Self and Identity, 14(5), 499–520.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2015.1029966 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zusman, M. E., & Knox, D. (1998). Relationship problems of casual and involved university students. College Student Journal, 32, 606–609.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations