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Eur Psychiatry. 2003 May;18(3):106-11.

Normal and obsessional jealousy: a study of a population of young adults.

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Dipartimento di Psichiatria, Neurobiologia, Farmacologia e Biotecnologie, University of Pisa, via Roma, 67, 56100 Pisa, Italy.



Jealousy is a heterogenous emotion ranging from normality to pathology. Several problems still exist in the distinction between normal and pathological jealousy.


With the present study, we aimed to contribute to the definition of the boundary between obsessional and normal jealousy by means of a specific self-report questionnaire developed by us.


The questionnaire called "Questionnaire on the Affective Relationships" (QAR) and consisting of 30 items, was administered to 400 university students of both sexes and to 14 outpatients affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) whose main obsession was jealousy. The total scores and single items were analysed and compared.


Two hundred and forty-five, approximately 61% of the questionnaires, were returned. The statistical analyses showed that patients with OCD had higher total scores than healthy subjects; in addition, it was possible to identify an intermediate group of subjects, corresponding to 10% of the total, who were concerned by jealousy thoughts around the partner, but at a lower degree than patients, and that we called "healthy jealous subjects" because they had no other psychopathological trait. Significant differences were also observed for single items in the three groups.


Our study showed that 10% of a population of university students, albeit normal, have jealousy thoughts around the partner, as emerged by the specific questionnaire developed by us. This instrument permitted to clearly distinguish these subjects from patients with OCD and healthy subjects with no jealousy concern.

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