Exploring the Link between Bright and Dark Personality Traits and Different Types of Jealousy


  • Dick P. H. Barelds University of Groningen, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Pieternel Dijkstra Institute for Social Psychology, Groningen, The Netherlands


personality; dark triad; jealousy


The present study set out to examine the relationships between ‘bright’ and ‘dark’ personality traits and three different types of jealousy: reactive jealousy (negative emotions in reaction to a partner’s infidelity), anxious jealousy (worrying about a partner’s infidelity), and preventive jealousy (the need to prevent a partner from having contact with others). In so doing, we used both a general broad personality questionnaire and a Dark Triad questionnaire for the assessment of personality. In a heterogeneous sample of 680 participants, it was found that neuroticism was positively related to anxious and preventive jealousy, and introversion and hostility to all three types of jealousy. Structure was related positively to reactive jealousy, and Machiavellianism and narcissism to preventive jealousy. These results are largely in line with our hypotheses. The Dark Triad traits were found to have incremental validity in the prediction of preventive jealousy, with Machiavellianism being the best predictor of preventive jealousy. This suggests that preventive jealousy might be a bit ‘darker’ than previously thought. Practical implications for dealing with jealousy in relationships are discussed.