Jealousy and the Social Psychology of Emotional Experience

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Jealousy is investigated as a focus for the symbolic interactionist analysis of emotion. We define jealousy in terms of the features of the contexts in which it is evoked. Three related elements are essential: an attachment between two persons; valued resources that flow through and are controlled by that attachment; and intrusion on that attachment by a third person who is perceived by one partner as becoming or wanting to become the receiver or giver of those resources. This partner becomes jealous because of fear of loss of control over the resources that pass through the bond between the two attached people. Identification is seen as the principal mode of attachment threatened by the intrusion. The kinds of resources controlled through identification and the context dependency of the features implying intrusion are examined along with the role of feeling ruies in jealousy management. Implications for theory and methodology in the social psychology of emotion are discussed.

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Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, v. 3, issue 3, p. 337-357