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Expecting and Competing? Jealous Responses Among Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women

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In the current study, we reasoned that when pregnant, women should be especially motivated to protect their reproductive investments as well as their pair bond and be vigilant about intrasexual competitors. To investigate this, pregnant women ( n = 66) and nonpregnant women ( n = 59; age M = 27.41, SD = 3.36) in committed relationships read a jealousy-evoking scenario that was accompanied by a picture of either an attractive or an unattractive woman, after which they indicated their jealousy about such a situation. Moreover, we asked whether a mate's emotional infidelity would evoke more jealousy than his sexual infidelity. The results showed that for pregnant women, both rivals evoked similar amounts of jealousy, whereas nonpregnant women's jealousy was mainly evoked by the attractive rival. Moreover, pregnant women indicated they would be most upset by their partner's emotional infidelity, and especially if they were previously exposed to the attractive rival. Nonpregnant women considered both types of infidelity equally upsetting. These results emphasize the adaptive function of jealousy and extend the literature on the influence of a rival's attractiveness on women's jealousy by focusing on the experiences of pregnant women.

    Research areas

  • jealousy, pregnancy, rivals, rival characteristics, emotional infidelity, intrasexual competitor, attractiveness, SEX-DIFFERENCES, MENSTRUAL-CYCLE, RIVAL CHARACTERISTICS, SELF-ESTEEM, INFIDELITY, REACTIVITY, MEN, SENSITIVITY, POPULATION, STRATEGIES
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Original languageEnglish
Article number1474704919833344
Number of pages7
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019