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Recently published research in the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychopharmacology found that intranasally administering small doses of oxytocin, the neuropeptide and hormone responsible for social bonding commonly known as the “love hormone”, can help reduce jealousy among partners in an established romantic relationship.
The study explains “Oxytocin primarily decreased jealousy and arousal ratings towards imagined emotional and sexual infidelity by a partner in both sexes. During the Cyberball game, while male and female subjects in both groups subsequently threw the ball least often to the rival stranger, under oxytocin they showed reduced romantic jealousy and arousal ratings for stranger players.”
The results suggest that oxytocin can reduce the negative emotional impact of jealousy in established romantic partners evoked by imagined or real infidelity or exclusive social interactions with others.
This provides further support for oxytocin promoting maintenance of relationships.
Othello Syndrome: A Rare Killer
Study author Xiaoxiao Zheng, a postdoctoral fellow in the Brain Cognition and Brain Disease Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Psypost that “Jealousy is a widely experienced emotion in romantic relationships and can result in domestic violence and break-ups.
In extreme cases romantic jealousy can become pathological leading to a morbid condition termed ‘Othello syndrome’”.
Othello Syndrome is a rare delusional, pathological and erotic jealousy disorder that can lead to high risk and unhealthy outcomes in romantic relationships, sometimes leading to domestic violence or worse; familicide.
Therefore, the future of relationship psychology and psychiatry may see the use of prescribed oxytocin increase substantially in the coming years.