Does the birth control pill make women more jealous?
Women who use hormonal contraceptives have been shown to report higher levels of jealousy than women who are regularly cycling. Here, we extend these findings by examining if self reported levels of jealousy vary with the dose of synthetic estrogen and progestin found in combined oral contraceptives in a sample of 275 women. A univariate ANOVA analysis revealed that higher levels of ethinyl estradiol were associated with significantly higher levels of self-reported jealousy. There was, however, no relationship between combined oral contraceptive progestin dose and reported jealousy levels. When controlling for age, relationship status, mood, and combined oral contraceptive progestin dose the results for ethinyl estradiol were maintained. A test for the interaction between the jealousy sub-scale items (reactive, possessive, and anxious jealousy) was however non-significant: ethinyl estradiol dose thus does not affect one type of jealousy more than another but rather affects overall jealousy. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of their evolutionary consequences on mate choice and relationship dynamics.