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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 Seven. Theoretical Considerations of Jealousy from a Communication Perspective


The study of communication as a distinct social scientific discipline has only emerged in the last 70 years, and the field of interpersonal communication is younger still, with the first interpersonal communication theory – Berger and Calabrese’s uncertainty reduction theory – being introduced in 1975. As such, scholarly interest in both jealousy and interpersonal communication has evolved over a similar period of time. Though a “younger” discipline than psychology, communication has nonetheless offered valuable theoretical insight into how jealousy is experienced and expressed. Specifically, theories concerned with uncertainty within close relationships and the relational turbulence model have been most frequently applied to the jealousy context and are thus described and reviewed in this chapter. Further, Jealousy Expression Profile Theory (JEPT), which is introduced and discussed at the end of this chapter, is rooted in the interpersonal communication discipline as well.

Berger and Calabrese’s (1975) uncertainty reduction theory (URT) proposed that individuals primarily communicate in order to reduce their uncertainty in a manner that allows them to predict and explain their own and others’ behavior. Though URT was initially proposed to understand interactions in developing relationships, Berger (1986) noted that relationships, like individuals, are constantly in flux, and the process of reducing uncertainty was thus also salient in established relationships. Further, for a relationship to continue, both partners must consistently update the fund of knowledge they have regarding themselves, their relational partner, and their relationship (Berger & Bradac, 1982). URT is a noteworthy interpersonal communication theory in that it initiated the...

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