Distinguishing the experiences of envy and jealousy

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1993 Jun;64(6):906-20. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.64.6.906.


This article describes the nature and significance of the distinction between the emotions of envy and jealousy and reports 2 experiments that empirically investigated it. In Experiment 1, Ss recalled a personal experience of either envy or jealousy. In Experiment 2, Ss read 1 of a set of stories in which circumstances producing envy and jealousy were manipulated independently in a factorial design. Both experiments introduced new methodologies to enhance their sensitivity, and both revealed qualitative differences between the 2 emotions. Envy was characterized by feelings of inferiority, longing, resentment, and disapproval of the emotion. Jealousy was characterized by fear of loss, distrust, anxiety, and anger. The practical importance of this distinction, the reasons for its confusion, and general issues regarding the empirical differentiation of emotions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Jealousy*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Concept