In this article the results of research on situational determinants of envy and schadenfreude are presented. Based on a literature review conducted, five hypotheses were devised concerning various situational factors influencing the intensity of envy and schadenfreude. The questionnaire used in the research was devised on the basis of interactional psychology and measured envy and schadenfreude. Situational dimensions concerned in the research were type of relation (close vs. distant/strange person) and the level of justice vs. injustice of the situation. 248 people participated in the research. Devised hypotheses were confirmed. Empirical results point out that along with expectations, the strongest envy is experienced in situations with subjectively perceived elements of injustice and towards distant acquaintances and strangers. The strongest schadenfreude was experienced by participants finding the situation of a stranger justifiable. It also occurred that women react with stronger envy in situations of the unjust success of a stranger whereas men, regardless of the situation, experience stronger schadenfreude in situations of the failure of a close as well as an unknown person.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.