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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Envy is a prevalent emotional response to comparisons individuals make with superior others. In this article, the authors review the psychological literature on envy and discuss the relevance of envy to competitive contexts, positing a bidirectional relationship between envy and competition. The authors begin by presenting the various conceptualizations of envy, emphasizing the widely accepted notion that envy can entail distinct consequences—pulling down the envied target (i.e., malicious or destructive consequences) versus self-improvement (i.e., benign or constructive consequences). In the remaining parts of the article, the authors provide an elaborate discussion of the malicious (destructive) and benign (constructive) consequences of envy in terms of cognitions, intentions, behaviors, and wellbeing. The authors proceed by discussing the determinants of these types of envy consequences, categorized into factors related to the situation, factors related to the superior envied target, and characteristics of the envious individual. Finally, the authors discuss interventions that may reduce the destructive consequences of envy among competitors.

Keywords: envy, competition, emotional response, self-improvement, intention, wellbeing, malicious consequences, benign consequences, social comparison

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