Introduction

Jealousy is a negative emotion related to a perceived threat of a social relationship. Romantic jealousy is when the jealousy is experienced in regard to a romantic relationship.

There are various psychological scales that can measure romantic jealousy. The short form of the multidimensional jealousy scale is a well validated scale with 17 items.

Multi-dimensional means here that the concept "romantic jealousy" has three different dimensions, or subtypes.

This scale has three dimensions, namely (these definitions are taken literally from the text by Elphinston et al.):

  • Cognitive jealousy: Frequency of a person’s suspicions and worries regarding partner interest in a rival, and interest received from a rival.

  • Emotional jealousy: The degree of upset a person experiences when exposed to jealousy-evoking situations.

  • Behavioral jealousy: The frequency with which a person engages in detective and protective behaviors, such as questioning and surveillance of their partner.

Below are the average scores of the men and women in the study by Elphinston et al.). These averages are based on 199 participants between the ages 18 to 60 (mean age 28, more precise details can be found in the paper).

Type Possible range Men Women

Cognitive jealousy

5-35

8.40

8.32

Emotional jealousy

6-42

26.89

30.30

Behavioural jealousy

6-42

12.52

14.59

Women score higher on both emotional and behavioral jealousy, whereas there is not statistically significant difference for the scores on cognitive jealousy. See also the work by Buunk and colleagues (1996) and Harris (2002) for a variety of theoretical perspectives!

Run the demo

This scale has been published in an academic journal (Elphinston et al., 2011) and it seems that it can be used for study and research as long as you acknowledge the authors and cite the paper.

Technically

This is a very simple scale item. The three dimensions are different scale questions. In this survey, not only the order of the items in each scale is randomized, but the order of the three questions is randomized as well using the random: begin and random: end statements.

In the original description of the scale by Pfeiffer and Wong (1989, p. 186), they state that the cognitive scale is in the opposite order from the behavioral scale to prevent response-aquiescence. This has not been used here, because you can imagine that some people might "forget" the scale the second time when they need to rate frequency. Of course, you could easily change this.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: frequency
- never
- .
- .
- .
- .
- .
- all the time

scale: pleased
- very pleased
- .
- .
- neutral
- .
- .
- very upset

random: begin

l: sfmjs_cog
t: scale frequency
o: width 40%
q: Below are a number of possible thoughts you might sometimes have about your partner (your partner is indicated with the letter X).<br>
On a scale from <i>never</i> to <i>all the time</i>, how often do the following thoughts about your partner occur?
- I suspect that X is secretly seeing someone of the opposite sex.
- I suspect that X may be attracted to someone else.
- I suspect that X may be physically intimate with another member of the opposite sex behind my back.
- I think that X is secretly developing an intimate relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
- I suspect that X is crazy about members of the opposite sex.

l: sfmjs_emo
t: scale pleased
o: width 40%
q: Below are a number of possible situations (your partner is indicated with the letter X).<br>
On a scale from <i>very pleased</i> to <i>very upset</i>, what are your emotions to the following situations?
- X comments to you on how great looking a particular member of the opposite sex is.
- X shows a great deal of interest or excitement in talking to someone of the opposite sex.
- A member of the opposite sex is trying to get close to X all the time.
- X is flirting with someone of the opposite sex.
- Someone of the opposite sex is dating X.
- X hugs and kisses someone of the opposite sex.

l: sfmjs_beh
t: scale frequency
o: width 40%
q: On a scale from <i>never</i> to <i>all the time</i>, how often do you engage in the following behaviors (your partner is indicated with the letter X)?
- I look through X’s drawers, handbag, or pockets.
- I call X unexpectedly, just to see if he or she is there.
- I question X about previous or present romantic relationships.
- I question X about his or her telephone calls.
- I question X about his or her whereabouts.
- I join in whenever I see X talking to a member of the opposite sex.

random: end

l: score_cog
t: set
- sum $sfmjs_cog

l: score_emo
t: set
- sum $sfmjs_emo

l: score_beh
t: set
- sum $sfmjs_beh

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your emotional jealousy scores are as follows:<br>
Cognitive jealousy (possible scores 5-35): {$score_cog}<br>
Emotional jealousy (possible scores 6-42): {$score_emo}<br>
Behavioral jealousy (possible scores 6-42): {$score_beh}<br><br>
Write these numbers down and go back to the survey library website (a link will follow in the next screen).<br>
There you can compare your scores to the population averages.<br>

References

  • Elphinston, R.A., Feeney, J.A., and Noller, P. (2011). Measuring romantic jealousy: Validation of the multidimensional jealousy scale in Australian samples. Australian Journal of Psychology, 63, 243-251.

  • Pfeiffer, S. M., & Wong, P. T. P. (1989). Multidimensional jealousy. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 6, 181-196.

  • Harris, C.R. (2002). Sexual and romantic jealousy in heterosexual and homosexual adults. Psychological Science, 13, 7-12.

  • Buunk, B.P., Angleitner, A., Oubaid, V. and Buss, D.M. (1996). Psychological Science, 7, 359-363.