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The Communication of Jealousy


Jennifer L. Bevan

This book won the 2014 National Communication Association’s Diamond Anniversary Book Award

This book received the 2014 Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Book Award from the «Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association» and the «National Communication Association – Communication and Social Cognition Division – 2013 Distinguished Book Award»

Informed by a wide variety of academic disciplines and offering a unique interpersonal communication approach to the study of jealousy, The Communication of Jealousy examines, integrates, and informs research on jealousy experience and expression. The book’s integration and interpretation of academic jealousy research is through a jealousy expression lens, meaning that the focus will be particularly, but not exclusively, on jealousy research that includes a behavioral or communicative component that is drawn from a number of academic disciplines as diverse as communication, social and clinical psychology, sociology, criminology, forensic anthropology, and the biological sciences. To date, no academic book has considered jealousy primarily from an interpersonal communication perspective; in doing so, this book effectively connects jealousy research from related academic disciplines and develops a theory that advances the state of jealousy expression research.
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Chapter Two. The Evolution of Jealousy Expression Research


Compared to the extensive clinical and research attention devoted to the experience of jealousy since the 1970s, how jealousy is expressed has only been a focus of research in the past two decades. According to Duck:

…jealousy research typically stops the film at the point where the subject feels the jealousy. The most interesting questions for future research concern the continuation of the film beyond that, to the point where the relationship interactions are molded or altered or affected by it. (1992, p. 51)

Duck further proposed to add communication to the commonly recognized cognition/emotion/behavior set of jealousy components. In other words, behaviors do not merely represent actions that happen to the external world, but instead are an “an interpersonal dyadic activity with communicative consequences and interactive implications” (Duck, 1992, p. 51). Indeed, Cano and O’Leary (2008) argued that jealousy-related actions, rather than emotions, are what contribute to the relationship strain that is commonly associated with jealousy. For example, Buunk (1987) found that spouses who ended their marriages due to extradyadic involvement engaged in significantly more conflict and aggression than couples who stayed together despite the infidelity. On the other hand, jealousy behaviors can also function to reduce or even eliminate an individual’s jealousy, as well as preserve and protect the relationship that is in danger of being lost (Cano & O’Leary, 2008; Constantine, 1976). Further, the most prevalent intervention for those who enter therapy to treat their jealousy is a systems approach that views jealousy...

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