Rival characteristics that provoke jealousy: A study in Iraqi Kurdistan

Abraham P. Buunk, Pieternel Dijkstra

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This study examined gender differences in the jealousy-evoking nature of rival characteristics among 200 young people from Iraqi Kurdistan. A factor analysis showed exactly the same 5 dimensions of rival characteristics as in Dutch samples, that is, social dominance, physical attractiveness, physical dominance, seductive behavior, and social status. Unlike what was found in The Netherlands, Argentina, and Spain, men and women did not differ in the rival characteristics they found most threatening. Overall, women found the 5 dimensions of rival characteristics threatening to the same extent, whereas men found physical dominance of the rival the least threatening characteristic. With the exception of social dominance of the rival, Kurdish men found all other characteristics more threatening than Dutch men did. With the exception of social dominance and physical attractiveness of the rival, Kurdish women found all other characteristics more threatening than Dutch women did. Only among men did all rival characteristics, except social status, correlate positively with intrasexual competition. The results are interpreted in the context of Kurdistan society and culture, and suggest that classic evolutionary theorizing about the gender differences in the rival characteristics that may evoke jealousy needs to be revised and moderated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
JournalEvolutionary Behavorial Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • cultural differences
  • intrasexual competition
  • Iraqi Kurdistan
  • jealousy

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