SINGLE CASE STUDY: Recurrent Pathological Jealousy

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A 36-year-old man suffered from pathological jealousy during three marriages. The episodes involving delusions of infidelity were usually preceded by premonitory symptoms. At first, the patient responded by discontinuing his medication (a phenothiazine) so that he might remain vigilant. Later he came to recognize the premonitory symptoms as signals indicating a need for help, and he would request hospitalization. In the periods between his marriages he was never troubled by feelings of jealousy.

The chief determinant of delusions of infidelity in this instance, as in three reported by Docherty and Ellis, seemed to be exposure to the mother's extramarital sexual relations.

This case, in which three different wives were subjected to the same pattern of behavior, would seem to be an exception to the rule that if marital problems occur both partners are responsible for creating them.

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