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Psychol Bull. 2007 Jan;133(1):46-64.

Comprehending envy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA. Rhsmit00@uky.edu

Abstract

The authors reviewed the psychological research on envy. The authors examined definitional challenges associated with studying envy, such as the important distinction between envy proper (which contains hostile feelings) and benign envy (which is free of hostile feelings). The authors concluded that envy is reasonably defined as an unpleasant, often painful emotion characterized by feelings of inferiority, hostility, and resentment caused by an awareness of a desired attribute enjoyed by another person or group of persons. The authors examined questions such as why people envy, why envy contains hostile feelings, and why it has a tendency to transmute itself. Finally, the authors considered the role of envy in helping understand other research domains and discussed ways in which people cope with the emotion.

(c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.

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