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Morbid Jealousy and Sex Differences in Partner-Directed Violence

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Abstract

Previous research suggests that individuals diagnosed with morbid jealousy have jealousy mechanisms that are activated at lower thresholds than individuals with normal jealousy, but that these mechanisms produce behavior that is similar to individuals with normal jealousy. We extended previous research documenting these similarities by investigating sex differences in partner-directed violence committed by individuals diagnosed with morbid jealousy. The results support some of our predictions. For example, a greater percentage of men than women diagnosed with morbid jealousy used physical violence, attempted to kill, and actually killed their partners, and used their hands rather than an object to kill their partners. These results replicate results generated for individuals with normal jealousy. Discussion addresses implications of the current research and highlights directions for future research on the psychology of morbid jealousy.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank members of the Buss Lab for helpful comments and suggestions on a previous draft of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Judith A. Easton.

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Easton, J.A., Shackelford, T.K. Morbid Jealousy and Sex Differences in Partner-Directed Violence. Hum Nat 20, 342–350 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-009-9069-1

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