Research from the University of Florida has found that adult women use the same gossiping techniques as teenage girls to damage another woman’s reputation and try to gain an advantage in romantic relationships.
Lead researcher and doctoral student Tara Reynolds led five studies that found women were more likely to spread negative information about a woman perceived as a threat to their romantic prospects.
Women strategically used gossip to target a rival who posed either a direct or indirect threat.
Direct threats involve situations such as a woman trying to steal another woman’s boyfriend. An indirect threat is more subtle, such as a woman who is physically attractive or ‘provocatively’ dressed.