Jealousy in romantic relationships, self-esteem and ego defenses

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Adams, Sabrina (2012) Jealousy in romantic relationships, self-esteem and ego defenses. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Despite the theoretical link between jealousy and self-esteem, research has yielded inconsistent results with regard to this relationship (review: White & Mullen, 1989). Although defenses such as projection, denial and repression have been linked with jealousy (Freud, 1922), there has been no research to date exploring this relationship. This quantitative study used self-report questionnaires, and aimed to contribute to previous research on jealousy and self-esteem, and defenses and selfesteem, and to explore the relationship between jealousy and defenses. Participants consisted of a convenience sample of 188 individuals aged from 20 to 81 years (M = 38.3, SD = 15.47), and included 73 men and 112 women. Measures included a brief demographic questionnaire, an 8-item dispositional jealousy measure (Melamed, 1991), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), and the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40; Andrews, Singh & Bond, 1993). The hypothesis that jealousy and self-esteem would be negatively correlated was supported for the overall sample (r = -.31, p = .005), however when split by gender there was a correlation for women (r = -.37, p = .0005), but not for men. The findings supported the hypothesis that jealousy would be positively correlated with immature defenses (r = .34, p = .0005) and negatively correlated with mature defenses (r = -.32, p = .0005). Jealousy was also positively correlated with the individual defenses of undoing, projection, passive aggression, acting out, devaluation, autistic fantasy, displacement, splitting, and somatization. Jealousy was negatively correlated with the individual defenses of sublimation, humor and suppression. The relationship between jealousy and defenses was often considerably stronger for men than for women. It was concluded that a relationship between jealousy and self-esteem did indeed exist, however this was only the case for women. For men, jealousy was found to be particularly associated with use of defenses.

Additional Information

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords defences, humour, defensiveness
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