Anticipated Sexual Jealousy Scale

Anticipated Sexual Jealousy Scale‌‌‌

BRAM BUUNK,1 University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Sexual jealousy can be defined as an aversive emotional reaction that occurs as the result of the partner’s sexual attraction to a rival that is real, imagined, or considered likely to occur (Bringle & Buunk, 1985). In line with this definition, the Anticipated Sexual Jealousy Scale (ASJS) measures the degree to which the idea of sexual attraction felt by one’s partner for another person evokes a negative emotional response. Because sexual attraction can be manifested in divergent ways, a range of sexually laden behaviors that could be exhibited by the partner are described, and the respondent’s reaction to these hypothetical events is assessed. Another consideration behind the construction of the scale was that the negative emotional reactions to such events are not necessarily labeled as jealousy. As the word jealous has a negative connotation in Western culture, individuals may resist labeling their feelings as such. Therefore, the word jealous is avoided in the scale: people are simply asked how bothered they would be. Furthermore, it was assumed that extradyadic sexual behaviors exhibited by the partner can evoke negative, neutral, and positive emotional reactions (see Buunk, 1981a) and that this should be reflected in the response code.

Description, Response Mode, and Timing

The scale consists of five items. The format for each item is the same: the respondents are asked how they would feel if their partner were to engage in flirting, light pet- ting, falling in love, sexual intercourse, and a long-term sexual relationship with another person of the opposite sex. The nine response options range from extremely bothered to extremely pleased. The midpoint is described as neutral. Each of the possible answers is spelled out literally. The respondents circle the number corresponding with the answer that best fits their anticipated feelings. The scale usually requires no more than 1 or 2 minutes for completion.


The items can simply be summed. No reverse scoring is necessary. Higher scores indicate a higher degree of jealousy.


The Cronbach alpha of the scale was .94 in a sample more or less representative of the general Dutch population and consisting of people with diverse levels of sexual permissiveness (Buunk, 1978); .90 in a study of people who had all been involved in extramarital relationships (Buunk, 1982); .91 in a sample of people in sexually open marriages (Buunk, 1981a); and .91 in a sample of undergraduate students (Buunk, 1981b). Over a 3-month period, test-retest reliability in the open marriage sample was r(100) = .76, p < .001.


There is considerable evidence for the concurrent validity of the ASJS. Individuals who said they were presently less jealous than before scored significantly lower on the scale than people who indicated they were as jealous now as they had been in the past (Buunk, 1981a). The scale particularly discriminates between persons high and low in sexual permissiveness. The sample described above, consisting of people who had been involved in extramarital relation- ships, scored much lower on the scale than a sample of undergraduate students, t(596) = 19.78, p < .001, and also much lower than the sample more or less representative of the average population, t(466) = 11.27, p < .001.

Further evidence for the concurrent validity of the ASJS is provided by the strong negative correlations that were found between this scale and a scale for extramarital behavioral intentions in three samples (Buunk, 1982). Finally, in the aforementioned sample of individuals from the average population, the scale showed a high correlation with a scale measuring moral disapproval of extramarital sex, r(250) = .77, p < .001.

Construct validity of the ASJS has been established in several studies showing positive and rather high correla- tions with other scales measuring jealousy or related con- structs. A correlation of r(218) = .56, p < .001, was found with a scale measuring jealousy as a consequence of a spouse’s real extramarital relationship that had occurred in the recent past (see Buunk, 1984). Additionally, in the sample of persons from the average population, a posi- tive correlation was established with a scale measuring the desire for an exclusive relationship, r(250) = .63, p < .01. In the undergraduate student sample mentioned previ- ously, the ASJS correlated rather strongly, r(380) = .59, p < .001, with a scale based on the factor Threat to Exclusive Relationship, the first and main factor that was found in a factor analysis of jealousy related items by Hupka et al. (1985).

In the same study, Rubin’s (1970) love scale correlated significantly with the scale described here, and his liking scale did not (Buunk, 1981a). These last findings support the construct validity of the ASJS because the love scale— as opposed to the liking scale as conceptualized by Rubin (1970)—refers to the emotional bond in a relationship, and jealousy is supposed to stem from a threat to such a bond.



Final evidence for the validity of the ASJS comes from the open marriage study. Here, among women, a high cor- relation was found between the scale and their jealousy as perceived by their husbands, r(50) = .61, p < .001. The same correlation among men was lower, but also signifi- cant, r(50) = .39, p < .01.

1Address correspondence to Bram Buunk, University of Nijmegen, Postbus 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands; e-mail: [email protected]

Anticipated Sexual Jealousy Scale

How would you feel if your partner were to engage in the following behavior with another man/woman?

Flirting 2. Sexual intercourse a

extremely pleased 3. Light petting

very pleased 4. A long-term sexual relationship

fairly pleased 5. Falling in love

somewhat pleased


somewhat bothered

fairly bothered

very bothered

extremely bothered


a The nine response options are repeated for each item.


Bringle, R. G., & Buunk, B. (1985). Jealousy and social behavior: A review of person, relationship and situational determinants. In P. Shaver (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (Vol. 6). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Buunk, B. (1978). Jaloezie 2. Ervaringen van 250 Nederlanders [Jealousy: Experiences of 250 Dutch people]. Intermediair, 14(11), 43–51.

Buunk, B. (1981a). Jealousy in sexually open marriages. Alternative Lifestyles, 4, 357–372.

Buunk, B. (1981b). Liefde, sympathie en jaloezie. [Loving, liking and jealousy]. Gedrag, Tijdschrift voor Psychologie, 9, 189–202.

Buunk, B. (1982). Anticipated sexual jealousy: Its relationship to self-esteem, dependency, and reciprocity. Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 310–316.

Buunk, B. (1984). Jealousy as related to attributions for the partner’s behavior. Social Psychology Quarterly, 47, 107–112.

Hupka, R. B., Buunk, B., Falus, G., Fulgosi, A., Ortega, E., Swain, R., & Tarabrina, N. V. (1985). Romantic jealousy and romantic envy. A seven nation study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 16, 423–446.

Rubin, Z. (1970). Measurement of romantic love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16, 265–273.