Sexual competition makes women more jealous than men

Published: May 4, 2012

Women are more jealous if the rival is more attractive and more envious if the rival is more powerful and dominating. PHOTO: FILE

MADRID: Sexual competition hurts women more than men at the workplace. However, a rival’s social skills provoke jealousy and envy equally in both sexes, shows a recent study.

Researchers from the universities of Valencia (Spain), Groningen (the Netherlands) and Palermo (Argentina), analysed the differences between men and women regarding envy and jealousy at work.

“Women with a high level of intrasexual competition are more jealous if the rival is more attractive and more envious if the rival is more powerful and dominating,” said Rosario Zurriaga, study co-author from the University of Valencia, the journal Revista de Psicologia Social reports.

Jealousy is a threat or loss of success in a relationship due to interference from a rival and implies a loss or threat of loss of what they had. Envy is a response to another person who has success, skills or qualities that they desire and involves a lack in comparison to the envied person, according to a Valencia statement.

Researchers “did not get any results in men, as no rival characteristics that provoke jealousy or envy predicted intrasexual competition”, added Zurriaga.

Intrasexual rivalry is competition with other people of the same sex caused by the desire to obtain and keep access to the opposite sex. Zurriaga, together with researchers from Groningen and Palermo, analysed this type of rivalry using questionnaires given to 200 subjects.

From those, they finally chose 114 — “a large enough sample as it is an exploratory study”, said Zurriaga. They distinguished between two emotions: jealousy and envy.

According to their results, sexual competition generally causes more jealousy and envy in women. However, rivals’ social skills provoke both emotions, both in men and women. “This result shows the importance of social skills in work environments,” Zurriaga said.

“Our research intends to clarify the role of emotions like envy and jealousy at work. These feelings have not been studied in working contexts and can cause stress in workers and negatively affect the quality of working life,” Zurriaga added.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • butt jee
    May 4, 2012 - 8:32PM

    Is it some thing to be worried about?


  • curious
    May 5, 2012 - 3:05AM

    yes from experience young women under 50 are quite bitchy, gossipy and will back stab you and then you have the over 50 menopausal ones who just hate any woman younger than them and if they have a successful husband/partner are threatened by them. But there are a few and a tiny few of women who are worth having as friends for life who are sincere and generous but they are extremely hard to find and you have to search very hard for them.


  • Nobody
    May 6, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Hmm, I smell insecurity. Secure and confident women (and men) don’t feel threatened by one another.


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