Reported jealousy differs as a function of menstrual cycle stage and contraceptive pill use: a within-subjects investigation

Kelly Cobey, Abraham Buunk, S. Craig Roberts, Christine Klipping, Nicole Appels, Yvette Zimmerman, Herjan Coelingh Bennink, Thomas Pollet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research suggests that female jealousy is sensitive to hormonal variation and, more specifically, potentially moderated by estrogen levels. Here, we tracked self-reported jealousy using a within-subjects design, comparing jealousy when the same women were regularly cycling and using hormonal contraceptives. Results show that fertile cycle phases are associated with higher levels of jealousy than nonfertile cycle phases in both single and partnered women. However, patterns of jealousy reported when using hormonal contraceptives, as compared to when regularly cycling, differed between single and partnered women. In single women, levels of jealousy while on the pill fell between those reported when fertile and nonfertile but were not significantly different from either. In partnered women, levels of jealousy while using the pill were significantly higher than those reported during the nonfertile cycle phase and similar to those during the brief period of fertility. We discuss possible reasons for differences between single and partnered women in reported jealousy while using the pill. This research is the first to definitively show that a psychological characteristic, for example, jealousy, may be influenced differentially by endogenous hormones vs. exogenous hormones administered via hormonal contraceptives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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