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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 Six. Theoretical Considerations of Jealousy from a Psychology Perspective


The multifaceted, complex nature of jealousy makes it an ideal relational situation to understand via a variety of scholarly theories whose goal is to explain the nature of interpersonal relationships. As such, researchers have employed a wide and diverse range of theories from multiple social scientific disciplines to better explain the nature of jealousy experience and expression. However, the sheer number and assortment of theoretical applications to the jealousy context also means it is difficult to offer a comprehensive summary of how aspects of each theory can usefully inform the study of jealousy (Harris & Darby, 2010). One way to offer a cohesive theoretical consideration of jealousy is to focus on how theoretical concepts specifically contribute to scholarly understanding of the expression of jealousy. As such, the next two chapters summarize five social scientific theories that research has demonstrated are particularly relevant to the study of jealousy expression. Three of these theories – evolutionary theory, attachment theory, and the investment model – represent the field of psychology and are described in this chapter. The remaining two theories – uncertainty reduction and management theories and the relational turbulence model – have emerged from the communication discipline and will be reviewed in Chapter 7. These two chapters will thus discuss the studies that have applied each of these theories to the jealousy context and consider how useful each theory is in specifically explaining jealousy expression.

As the discipline from which the systematic study of jealousy first emerged, it is natural that the field of...

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