Reproductive Strategies and Jealousy in Men and Women

Irena Pavela, Benjamin Banai, Nataša Šimić


Previous studies showed that men are more sensitive to
sexual infidelity, while women are more sensitive to
emotional infidelity. However, only a few of them investigated
differences in jealousy within each sex. Moreover, studies of
sex differences in reproductive strategies showed that women
are more restrictive in comparison to men. According to
evolutionary psychology, both long-term and short-term
strategies could be found within each sex. The aim of this
study is to investigate differences in sensitivity to sexual and
emotional infidelity between restrictive and nonrestrictive men
and women. 526 subjects took part in this study. They
estimated the intensity of jealousy in hypothetical situations of
sexual and emotional infidelity. Furthermore, sociosexual
orientation was assessed using the Croatian adaptation of
Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (Kardum, Gračanin, &
Hudek-Knežević, 2006). Based on the results, subjects were
divided into the groups of restrictive and nonrestrictive
individuals. The results showed greater sensitivity to sexual
infidelity in men and emotional infidelity in women. In
comparison to nonrestrictive men, restrictive men showed
greater sensitivity to sexual infidelity. Women are more
sensitive to emotional infidelity, regardless of their
reproductive strategy. Advantages and disadvantages of both
strategies, as well as their effect on jealousy, could be
interpreted within the context of evolutionary development of
mechanisms for partner selection and mate guarding.


jealousy; sexual infidelity; emotional infidelity; reproductive strategy

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096