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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 Eight. The Implications of Jealousy


Thus far, this book has reviewed and synthesized the vast interdisciplinary body of research on jealousy, with a focus on how individuals behaviorally and communicatively respond to their jealousy. As was argued in Chapter 1, highlighting how jealousy is expressed is essential to fully comprehend the process of jealousy at individual, relational, and even societal and cultural levels. The subsequent chapters then offered evidence regarding the integral role of jealousy expression in defining and classifying this relational experience in multiple close relationship contexts, as well as in relation to the individual, relational, cognitive, and emotional correlates of, and theoretical approaches to, jealousy. This emphasis on communication and language also offers a unique perspective on the implications of jealousy. In other words, once jealousy is experienced and expressed, what are its consequences for the three members of the jealousy triangle, the relationship that the jealous individual is seeking to protect, and society at large?

Clanton’s (1996) examples of constructive and destructive jealousy are useful here as illustrations of how differing jealousy responses can fundamentally alter the trajectory of a jealousy situation. In his example, a wife is experiencing jealousy about her husband talking to another woman at length during a party they both attended. In the situation that Clanton labels as “constructive and appropriate” jealousy, the wife explains what triggered her jealousy and how she felt (“You spent a long time talking to Matilda tonight. She’s very pretty and I felt left out”), to which the husband responds by...

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