Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Murray Millar

Second Committee Member

Marta Meana

Third Committee Member

David Copeland

Fourth Committee Member

Barb Brents

Number of Pages



The current study examined the effect of sex on how people react, emotionally and behaviorally, to different types of partner infidelity. We expected to replicate previous findings that men experience more jealousy in reaction to their partner's sexual infidelity, and women experience more jealousy in reaction to their partners' emotional infidelity. We hypothesized that sex will affect behavioral reactions to infidelity as well. Specifically, we expected men to respond to sexual infidelity by terminating the relationship and to emotional infidelity by employing mate-guarding behaviors to prevent further infidelity. We hypothesized women would display the opposite pattern, leaving a relationship in response to emotional infidelity and engaging in mate guarding in response to sexual infidelity. One hundred and seventy five participants completed measures to assess these hypotheses and other related variables (emotional reactions to infidelity, behavioral reactions to infidelity, tendency towards jealousy, mate value, personality characteristics). We replicated previously discovered sex difference in emotional responses to jealousy. Additionally, we found differences in regards to partner retention in that women were more likely to retain in response to sexual infidelity and men more likely to retain in response to emotional infidelity. When examining abandonment behaviors, however, we found that both genders endorsed more leaving in response to sexual infidelity.


Adultery – Psychological aspects; Jealousy; Possessiveness; Separation (Psychology); Sex differences


Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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