Touch reduces romantic jealousy in the anxiously attached

Kaylyn J. Kim, Brooke C. Feeney, Brittany K. Jakubiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Feelings of jealousy are usually detrimental to relationships, often resulting in negative outcomes ranging from conflict to violence and relationship dissolution. Anxiously attached individuals are especially prone to jealousy in their relationships and are therefore especially likely to experience negative outcomes of jealousy. In this research, we examined the effectiveness of both touch and a traditional security prime as a potential means of reducing feelings of jealousy for individuals who are high in anxious attachment. Individuals in romantic relationships were induced to feel jealous, during which time they were randomly assigned to receive affectionate touch from their partners, a traditional nontouch security prime, or no intervention (control). Results revealed that anxious attachment was associated with high levels of jealousy, and touch was an effective buffer against jealous feelings for individuals high in anxious attachment. The traditional security prime did not buffer jealous feelings. Implications of results for potential relationship interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1041
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxious attachment
  • intervention
  • jealousy
  • romantic relationships
  • security prime
  • touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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