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Romantic jealousy : the role of attachment style and social comparison processes in the violent expression of romantic jealousy

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:46 by Jeanette. Allen
The aim of this study was to investigate the experience of romantic jealousy in a group of men who have committed a serious offence against an intimate partner. The study drew on evolutionary theory, specifically looking at attachment theory and social comparison processes to account for individual differences in the experience and violent expression of romantic jealousy.;This study was primarily an unrelated between groups comparison study, correlations of the dependent variables were also made to investigate the associations between these factors. The participants included "domestically violent" men (men with a conviction of violence against their partner), "extra-domestically violent" men (men with a conviction of violence but not against their partner) and "non-violent" men. The dependent variables were interpersonal jealousy, attachment style, anger, abusiveness, internalised shame, and social comparison in adulthood and in adolescence.;The results found predominantly insecure attachment styles within the sample of violent men, with "domestically violent" men reporting significantly higher attachment anxiety than either of the other two groups. Attachment anxiety was found to be associated with jealousy, anger and abusiveness in intimate relationships. Mixed support was provided for the role of social comparison processes, with the results highlighting the perception of feeling different to and unaccepted by ones peer group in both adolescence and adulthood as being associated with jealousy, anger, abusiveness and internalised shame.;It is suggested that the internal working model of the self, characteristic of attachment anxiety is a "shame-based" model, involving global attacks on the self, revealing the intricate connection with feelings of alienation and rejection.;Clinical limitations of the results of this study are discussed and areas for further research are highlighted.


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University of Leicester

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