Alternative Lifestyles

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 291–309 | Cite as

Relative involvement, inadequacy, and jealousy

A test of a causal model
  • Gregory L. White


Romantic jealousy is defined as a reaction to a perceived threat to self and/or relationship. Based on the concepts of comparison level and comparison level for alternatives, and guided by the concepts of primary and secondary appraisal processes in coping with stress, a causal model of jealously is presented. This model was tested based on responses of 150 romantically involved couples to a survey. A slightly revised model was found to predict the observed correlations among model variables fairly well for both males and females. In the revised model greater relative involvement in the relationship and perceived inadequacy as a partner independently and directly cause jealousy. These two primary appraisal variables indirectly affect jealousy through the operation of two global secondary appraisal variables: noticing and worrying. A distinction is drawn between threat based on comparison and threat based on partner's evaluation of oneself. Both types of threat may be either acute or chronic.


Social Policy Model Variable Social Issue Comparison Level Causal Model 
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Copyright information

© Sage Publications, Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory L. White
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MarylandUSA

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