Sex (similarities and) differences in friendship jealousy

Jaimie Arona Krems, Keelah E.G. Williams, Laureon A. Merrie, Douglas T. Kenrick, Athena Aktipis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Friendships provide material benefits, bolster health, and may help solve adaptive challenges. However, a recurrent obstacle to sustaining those friendships—and thus enjoying many friendship-mediated fitness benefits—is interference from other people. Friendship jealousy may be well-designed for helping both men and women meet the recurrent, adaptive challenge of retaining friends in the face of such third-party interference. Although we thus expect several sex similarities in the general cognitive architecture of friendship jealousy (e.g., it is attuned to friend value), there are also sex differences in friendship structures and historical functions, which might influence the inputs of friendship jealousy (e.g., the value of any one friendship). If so, we should also expect some sex differences in friendship jealousy. Findings from a reanalysis of previously-published data and a new experiment, including both U.S. student and adult community participants (N = 993), provide initial support for three predicted sex differences: women (versus men) report greater friendship jealousy at the prospective loss of best friends to others, men (versus women) report greater friendship jealousy at the prospective loss of acquaintances to others, and men's (but not women's) friendship jealousy is enhanced in the context of intergroup contests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Friendship
  • Jealousy
  • Relationship maintenance
  • Relationships
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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