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Relationship Orientation, Jealousy, and Equity: An Examination of Jealousy Evoking and Positive Communicative Responses
Unformatted Document Text:  Relationship Orientation and Jealousy 9 satisfaction among participants from the United States and the Netherlands. Results from American participants suggested that satisfaction was related to feelings of equity, but Dutch results did not support Equity Theory. Greatest relational satisfaction occurred when feeling overbenefited for individuals high in communal orientation from both countries. These results are contradictory to expectations of Equity Theory, but suggest support for Clark and Mills (1979) argument that intimate relationships may not be reciprocity based. Evoking Jealousy An argument can be made that intentional evocation of jealous responses may be an attempt to reduce uncertainty, gain benefits, and restore equity in relationships (see also Affifi and Riechert, 1986). Baxter and Wilmot’s research on secret tests (1984) included 2 items which describe eliciting jealousy in order to reduce uncertainty about and test the resilience of a relationship. In 2001, Chory-Assad and Booth-Butterfield linked clusters of testing strategies with the type of relationship. The latter research examined a “rule deviation” factor involving 4 secret tests and including 2 jealousy items (making the other jealous by describing alternative partners and making the partner jealous by going out with or being in the presence of other alternatives). Use of this combination was associated with lower self-esteem (r = .17) and was employed more in romantic relationships which were perceived to be deteriorating, although the effects were small. No gender differences were found in the use of rule deviation tests. It is not unreasonable to analyze the elicitation of jealousy in a more fine-grained way, looking at specific jealousy behaviors themselves. Communicating to provoke the emotion of jealousy in one’s partner could be perceived as a productive strategy, implemented to force an issue and trigger communication which is ultimately constructive for the relationship.

Authors: Cayanus, Jacob. and Booth-Butterfield, Melanie.
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Relationship Orientation and Jealousy 9
satisfaction among participants from the United States and the Netherlands. Results from
American participants suggested that satisfaction was related to feelings of equity, but Dutch
results did not support Equity Theory. Greatest relational satisfaction occurred when feeling
overbenefited for individuals high in communal orientation from both countries. These results
are contradictory to expectations of Equity Theory, but suggest support for Clark and Mills
(1979) argument that intimate relationships may not be reciprocity based.
Evoking Jealousy
An argument can be made that intentional evocation of jealous responses may be an
attempt to reduce uncertainty, gain benefits, and restore equity in relationships (see also Affifi
and Riechert, 1986). Baxter and Wilmot’s research on secret tests (1984) included 2 items which
describe eliciting jealousy in order to reduce uncertainty about and test the resilience of a
relationship. In 2001, Chory-Assad and Booth-Butterfield linked clusters of testing strategies
with the type of relationship. The latter research examined a “rule deviation” factor involving 4
secret tests and including 2 jealousy items (making the other jealous by describing alternative
partners and making the partner jealous by going out with or being in the presence of other
alternatives). Use of this combination was associated with lower self-esteem (r = .17) and was
employed more in romantic relationships which were perceived to be deteriorating, although the
effects were small. No gender differences were found in the use of rule deviation tests.
It is not unreasonable to analyze the elicitation of jealousy in a more fine-grained way,
looking at specific jealousy behaviors themselves. Communicating to provoke the emotion of
jealousy in one’s partner could be perceived as a productive strategy, implemented to force an
issue and trigger communication which is ultimately constructive for the relationship.


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