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Women who gossip about others are driven by jealousy and low self-esteem, research claims

We all like to chat about the latest rumor or scandal from time to time.

But ladies, beware: women who gossip about others are driven by jealousy and low self-esteem, a study suggests.

Researchers recruited 190 women between the ages of 23 and 35, who were asked to rate their own physical attractiveness and self-esteem on a scale.

They were then randomly assigned to look at photos of women who were categorized as high or low in attractiveness.

Participants were asked to imagine that they were in a social group with a ‘goalkeeper’, and to imagine the woman they had seen, a photo of her entering the group and getting close to the man.

We all like to chat about the latest rumor or scandal from time to time. But ladies, beware: Women who gossip about others are driven by jealousy and low self-esteem, a study suggests (stock image)

They rated their jealousy on a scale, after which they were shown negative information about the woman and asked how likely they were to share this information in different social contexts.

Analysis found that participants were more likely to spread negative information about the woman to their own friends than to anyone else.

They were also more likely to report feeling more romantic jealousy when the woman was attractive, which in turn was linked to a greater likelihood of gossiping about her.

Participants with low self-esteem were slightly more likely to gossip, especially if competitors were highly attractive, the researchers found.

The team from Beijing Normal University published their findings in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.

Analysis found that participants were more likely to spread negative information about the woman to their own friends than to anyone else (stock image)

Analysis found that participants were more likely to spread negative information about the woman to their own friends than to anyone else (stock image)

“This study examined whether and how young women used gossip strategies to win opportunities for themselves when confronted with physically attractive potential romantic competitors,” they wrote.

‘Our results suggest that when confronted with physically attractive potential competitors, young women experienced higher levels of romantic jealousy and were thus more likely to pass on negative information that could damage the sexual reputation of potential competitors to their friends.

‘Additionally, women with low self-esteem were more likely to experience romantic jealousy and were more likely to pass on negative information to their friends.’

Do men gossip as much as women?

A shocking recent study found that men gossip just as much as women.

And instead of acting like gentlemen, they are more likely than their female counterparts to talk about co-workers.

Researchers surveyed more than 2,200 people about their gossip habits and found that men and women are equally likely to engage in office banter.

But while women tend to talk supportively about colleagues, men try to put down rivals.

The researchers suggested that gossip gave women a way to compete in a non-physically threatening way, while for men it helped build their self-confidence.

In the study, published in March and conducted by Ariel University in Israel, participants were asked to imagine describing a person they had just met to a friend, and the responses were analyzed.

The authors concluded: ‘Our findings suggest that women and men engage in gossip to the same extent, undermining annoying, common stereotypes.

‘The results indicated a statistically significant difference between the sexes, confirming that women’s gossip is coded with more positivity than men’s.’