When the sexes need not differ: Emotional responses to the sexual and emotional aspects of infidelity

David Becker, Brad J. Sagarin, Rosanna E. Guadagno, Allison Millevoi, Lionel D. Nicastle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This study assessed whether previously reported sex differences in jealousy could be accounted for by other related emotions. Participants were presented with hypothetical scenarios involving both a sexual and an emotional infidelity, then were asked how jealous, angry, hurt, and disgusted they would be (using continuous scales). The results replicate the sex difference in response to sexual and emotional infidelity, demonstrate that it is robust when continuous measures are used, and confirm that it is unique to jealousy. Sex differences did not emerge for anger, hurt, or disgust. Instead, sexual infidelity elicited greater anger and disgust, and less hurt, than emotional infidelity, for both women and men. The results also suggest that it is the jealous response to an emotional infidelity that best discriminates women from men. and that both women and those participants in a serious, committed relationship reported significantly greater intensity in their emotional reactions, as compared to men and those not in a committed relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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