Benign and Malicious Envy Scale

Measuring dispositional benign and malicious envy

The Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS) is a measure of dispositional envy designed to assess personality differences in people’s tendency to react with benign or malicious envy towards superior comparison standards. It consists of two subscales with 5 items each.

Envy is a frustrating emotion that can occur when people lack another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession. There are two forms of envy that differ in how people deal with this inferiority. Benign envy entails motivation to invest more effort to be as successful as the other person. In contrast, malicious envy motivates people to level the other person down. Distinguishing between benign and malicious envy allows to disentangle different motivational and behavioral consequences of envy-elicting situations.

Scoring

The scale responses are scored by averaging the responses of the benign envy and malicious envy subscales, respectively.

SPSS syntax:

* Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS, Lange & Crusius, 2015).
COMPUTE ben_envy = MEAN(benign1, benign2, benign3, benign4, benign5).
COMPUTE mal_envy = MEAN(malicious1, malicious2, malicious3, malicious4, malicious5).
EXECUTE.

If you named the variables according to their order, you will need to average the following items:

  • benign envy: 1, 3, 4, 7, 9
  • malicious envy: 2, 5, 6, 8, 10

SPSS syntax:

* Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS, Lange & Crusius, 2015).
COMPUTE ben_envy = MEAN(bemas1, bemas3, bemas4, bemas7, bemas9).
COMPUTE mal_envy = MEAN(bemas2, bemas5, bemas6, bemas8, bemas10).
EXECUTE.

Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS)

Instruction text

Below, you will find statements related to situations when you lack another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and you either desire it or wish that the other lacks it. Please indicate for every statement how much you agree or disagree with it. There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t hesitate to indicate the first answer that comes to your mind.

Items

#Variable nameItem wording
1benign1When I envy others, I focus on how I can become equally successful in the future.
2malicious1I wish that superior people lose their advantage.
3benign2If I notice that another person is better than me, I try to improve myself.
4benign3Envying others motivates me to accomplish my goals.
5malicious2If other people have something that I want for myself, I wish to take it away from them.
6malicious3I feel ill will towards people I envy.
7benign4I strive to reach other people’s superior achievements.
8malicious4Envious feelings cause me to dislike the other person.
9benign5If someone has superior qualities, achievements, or possessions, I try to attain them for myself.
10malicious5Seeing other people’s achievements makes me resent them.

Scale anchors

Participants answer on a 6-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree).

Scoring

The scale responses are scored by averaging the items of the benign envy and malicious envy subscales, respectively. Please find sample code here.

Reference

Lange, J., & Crusius, J. (2015). Dispositional envy revisited: Unraveling the motivational dynamics of benign and malicious envy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(2), 284–294. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167214564959

The scale is published under the CC-BY license. You are free to use, adapt, and share the scale and its translations without our consent.

More information

For information on the scale development and psychometric characteristics of the BeMaS, see:

Lange, J., & Crusius, J. (2015). Dispositional envy revisited: Unraveling the motivational dynamics of benign and malicious envy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(2), 284–294. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167214564959