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Jealousy : an empirical and phenomenological study West, Mariette Bésanger


This study examines the concept "jealousy" using a combination of empirical and phenomenological approaches. In the empirical phase objective data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. In the phenomenological phase subjective data were analyzed on the basis of major descriptors, elements and themes in the verbatim responses. Interpretations in each phase were supported by data and findings from the other phase and by the conceptual understandings gained from a review of three theories of emotion and a critique of literature on jealousy from several disciplines. Three hundred adults from a student family housing complex were surveyed using an adapted version of a jealousy inventory by Aronson and Pines (1982). Forty-five female and 28 male respondents defined jealousy in their own words; described and interpreted their most extreme experiences with the emotion and responded (on a one-to-seven scale) to objective item subtests of jealousy prevalence; physical and emotional reactions; general reactions and coping mechanisms. Quantitative and qualitative analyses resulted in many preliminary findings. Among them were: apparent therapeutic effects of the instrument; sex differences in each of the objective subtests; and qualitative similarities and differences among individuals and between the sexes in participants' definitions, experiential accounts and interpretations. Several hypotheses were generated and many suggestions for future research were discussed. Implications for counselling practice generally promoted application of a broader conceptualization and more positive outcomes for jealousy experiences.

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