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Emotional promiscuity : consequences for health and well-being Jones, Daniel Nelson

Abstract

Emotional Promiscuity (EP) refers to how easily and often an individual falls in love (Jones, 2011). This dissertation sought to elaborate the construct of EP, validate a questionnaire measure, and investigate the implications of EP for health and well-being. EP is first defined and then conceptually distinguished from relevant variables in the relationships literature such as: romantic idealism, sexual promiscuity, and attachment. A scale to measure EP (the EP scale) was then developed and refined. The process began with the generation of a large pool of items. The items were then narrowed down with a series of principal component and confirmatory factor analyses. From these analyses, the final 10-item Emotional Promiscuity (EP) scale emerged. Its empirical two-facet structure maps onto the two aspects of promiscuity: frequency and ease. A series of survey studies were then conducted to examine the convergent, and discriminant, and criterion validity of the EP scale. The EP scale exhibited modest positive correlations with sexual promiscuity, anxious attachment, borderline personality, and romantic idealism but weak correlations with other, less relevant, relationship variables. The EP scale was also associated with retrospective reports of major relationship outcomes including number of relationships and times engaged to be married. Among women, EP and sexual promiscuity interacted to predict multiple pregnancies from different partners. Two studies then examined the ability of the EP scale to predict emotional infidelity. The EP scale predicted both past reports of emotional infidelity and prospective emotional infidelity using a diary study. The EP scale also had an important health application: High scores on both the EP scale and Sociosexuality Orientation Inventory predicted unprotected sexual partners (for women only). I conclude with an overview and conclusion suggesting future directions and important implications for EP and the EP scale. Taken together, the studies in this dissertation indicate that EP is a viable psychological construct and that the EP scale is a valid and reliable instrument capable of predicting important relationship outcomes.

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