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Dissertation

Differences in Triggers of Jealousy among Heterosexual, Gay, and Lesbian Adults: The Case of Offline and Online Infidelity

26 July 2018

Abstract

The study examined the differences in the cues that trigger jealousy (emotional and sexual infidelity) between individuals in monogamous romantic relationships where the option for biological reproduction is present (opposite-gender relationships) and individuals who endorse being in monogamous romantic relationships where biological reproduction is not an option (same-gender relationships) and if any differences found were consistent across offline and online infidelities. Additionally, the study examined differences in triggers of jealousy across online and offline infidelities among heterosexual, gay, and lesbian individuals in monogamous romantic relationships. Lastly, the study examined if gender differences in jealousy due to the type of infidelity consistently found in offline infidelity research and in research on online infidelity holds true (e.g., men are more likely to be triggered by sexual infidelity when compared to women and women are more likely to be triggered by emotional infidelity when compared to men). This study was a partial replication of Groothof, Dijkstra, and Barelds’ (2009) study, which examined male and female’s responses to emotional and sexual infidelity over the internet. Participants (n = 269) completed a demographic questionnaire, a social media use questionnaire, and an infidelity scenario questionnaire. The infidelity questionnaire consisted of six different offline and online infidelity scenarios. Significant differences in cues that trigger jealousy were found between participants in monogamous romantic opposite-gender and monogamous romantic same-gender relationships. Participants in opposite-gender relationship were more triggered by sexual infidelity when compared to participants in same-gender relationships and vice versa. No significant differences in cues that trigger jealousy were found among participants who identified as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and other. However, participants who identified as heterosexual chose sexual infidelity as more distressing when compared to non-heterosexual participants. Consistent with previous research, gender differences in cues that trigger jealous were found among male and female participants, with male participants more like to choose sexual infidelity as triggering when compared to female participants, and vice versa. Despite these differences, emotional infidelity appeared to be more triggering of jealousy among all participants and across all infidelity scenarios.


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