Individual Differences in Preventive Jealousy Determine Men's Jealousy after Subliminal Exposure to Rivals Wearing High- or Low-Status Clothes

Karlijn Massar*, Abraham (Bram) P. Buunk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigated sex differences in jealousy after subliminal exposure to rivals wearing high-status or low-status clothes. It was expected that individual differences in preventive jealousy would moderate the relationship between a rival's characteristics and jealousy. Participants (Men: n=54, M age=21.6yr., SD=3.5; women: n=71, M age=20.7yr., SD=1.9) completed a parafoveal subliminal priming paradigm as well as questionnaires about jealousy and preventive jealousy. As predicted, women were not affected by their rival's status, but women high in preventive jealousy reported more jealousy than women low in preventive jealousy. However, whereas men low in preventive jealousy reported equal amounts of jealousy after exposure to a high-status and a low-status rival, surprisingly, and contrary to the expectations, men high in preventive jealousy reported most jealousy after exposure to a low-status rival. To explain these unexpected results, threats to self-esteem were discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-235
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • jealousy
  • status
  • preventive jealousy
  • subliminal priming
  • sex differences

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