The Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS) & Translations

Table of contents

Benign and malicious envy

Envy is a frustrating emotion that can occur when people lack another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession. There are two forms of envy that differ in how people deal with this inferiority. Benign envy entails motivation to invest more effort to be as successful as the other person. In contrast, malicious envy motivates people to level the other person down. Distinguishing between benign and malicious envy allows to disentangle different motivational and behavioral consequences of envy-elicting situations.

Measuring dispositional benign and malicious envy with the BeMaS (Lange & Crusius, 2015)

The Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS) is a dispositional envy scale designed to assess personality differences in people’s self-reported inclination to react with benign or malicious envy towards superior comparison standards. It consists of a benign envy subscale and a malicious envy subscale with 5 items each. Below, you can find the English language version of the questionnaire. The scale has been translated to a number of other languages. You can find these translations here as well. This website also provides basic information on scoring, psychometrics, and interpretation of the scale.

The BeMaS in English

Instruction text

Below, you will find statements related to situations when you lack another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and you either desire it or wish that the other lacks it. Please indicate for every statement how much you agree or disagree with it. There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t hesitate to indicate the first answer that comes to your mind.


# Variable name Item wording
1 benign1 When I envy others, I focus on how I can become equally successful in the future.
2 malicious1 I wish that superior people lose their advantage.
3 benign2 If I notice that another person is better than me, I try to improve myself.
4 benign3 Envying others motivates me to accomplish my goals.
5 malicious2 If other people have something that I want for myself, I wish to take it away from them.
6 malicious3 I feel ill will towards people I envy.
7 benign4 I strive to reach other people’s superior achievements.
8 malicious4 Envious feelings cause me to dislike the other person.
9 benign5 If someone has superior qualities, achievements, or possessions, I try to attain them for myself.
10 malicious5 Seeing other people’s achievements makes me resent them.

Scale anchors

Participants answer on a 6-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree).

Scoring and score interpretation

The scale responses are scored by averaging the items of the benign envy and malicious envy subscales, respectively. Please find sample code and more information on score interpretation here.

PDF file


BeMaS translations

On this website, you can find the following translations of the BeMaS:

Bosnian (Riđić & Riđić, 2017), Bulgarian (Papazova, 2017), Chinese (Xiang et al., 2018), Croatian (Knežević, 2022), Croatian (Milić et al., 2023), Dutch (Van de Ven, 2017), English (Lange & Crusius, 2015), Estonian (Liik, 2017), French (Cottraux, 2021), French (Grynberg et al., 2020), German (Lange & Crusius, 2015), Hungarian (Bolló, 2017), Indonesian (Ardi, 2017), Iranian Persian (Alizadehgoradel, 2022), Italian (Rogier et al., 2023), Japanese (Inoue & Yokota, 2022), Japanese (Sawada & Fujii, 2016), Korean (Moon & Lee, 2023), Korean (Rim et al., 2021), Latvian (Iliško, 2017), Persian (Chegini, 2017), Polish (Kwiatkowska & Rogoza, 2017), Portuguese-Brazil (Peixoto, 2018), Portuguese-Portugal (Costa & Lins, 2017), Romanian (Birle, 2020), Russian (Lyusin & Amiraslanova, 2022), Russian (Volkodav, 2017), Serbian (Branković, 2017), Sinhala (De Zoysa et al., 2021), Spanish (Navarro-Carrillo et al., 2017), Turkish (Çırpan & Özdoğru, 2017), Ukrainian (Pylat & Haletska, 2017), Urdu (Shakeel et al., 2023), Vietnamese (Ha & Nguyen, 2016)

Please contact us if you are aware of or would like to add an additional translation here.

More information on scale development and psychometrics

Scale development

For detailed information on the scale development and psychometric characteristics of the BeMaS, see:

Lange, J., & Crusius, J. (2015). Dispositional envy revisited: Unraveling the motivational dynamics of benign and malicious envy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(2), 284–294.

  Abstract (expand)
Previous research has conceptualized dispositional envy as a unitary construct. Recently however, episodic envy has been shown to emerge in two qualitatively different forms. Benign envy is related to the motivation to move upward, whereas malicious envy is related to pulling superior others down. In four studies (N = 1,094)—using the newly developed Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS)—we show that dispositional envy is also characterized by two independent dimensions related to distinct motivational dynamics and behavioral consequences. Dispositional benign and malicious envy uniquely predict envious responding following upward social comparisons. Furthermore, they are differentially connected to hope for success and fear of failure. Corresponding to these links, dispositional benign envy predicted faster race performance of marathon runners mediated via higher goal setting. In contrast, dispositional malicious envy predicted race goal disengagement. The findings highlight that disentangling the two sides of envy opens up numerous research avenues.

Psychometrics and interpretation

On this website, we provide basic information on psychometrics and interpretation of the BeMaS. For a more comprehensive review of the research conducted with the BeMaS and its translations, including information on reliability, temporal stability, measurement invariance, cross-cultural usage considerations, and the correlates of dispositional benign and malicious envy as assessed with the BeMaS, see this scale reference chapter in the International Handbook of Behavioral Health Assessement:

Lange, J., & Crusius, J. (2024). Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS). In C. U. Krägeloh, M. Alyami, & O. N. Medvedev (Eds.), International handbook of behavioral health assessment. Springer International Publishing.

  Abstract (expand)
Dispositional envy captures variation in how people deal with unflattering upward comparison. Depending on how people evaluate such situations, they react with benign envy – entailing the motivation to improve one’s situation – or malicious envy – entailing the motivation to harm the other’s superior position. The Dispositional Benign and Malicious Envy Scale (BeMaS) includes 10 items, with 5 items each measuring interindividual differences in the two envy forms. The BeMaS has been translated into at least 28 languages. Across numerous studies with different samples in several countries, both scales showed high internal consistency, unidimensionality, moderately high test–retest reliability, and at least configural measurement invariance across various groups. In confirmatory factor analyses, a model with two correlated latent factors consistently fitted the data and outperformed a model with a single latent factor. Moreover, both envy forms related to people’s propensity to compare as well as painful feelings and respective state envy following invidious comparisons. In line with theorizing, they were also predicted by the motivation to be high up in a social hierarchy, while dispositional benign envy was related to the motivation to improve one’s social rank and dispositional malicious envy was related to the motivation to harm the superior person’s social rank. Future research should investigate cross-cultural differences and the (longitudinal) relationships of both envy forms with actual social rank, well-being, and mental health.

If you would like to use, adapt, or republish the BeMaS, you are welcome to do so. No permission is needed, as the scale is published under the permissive Creative Commons CC-BY license. Here you can find more detailed information on permissions and copyright for the BeMaS.


Please contact us if you have questions or feedback about the scale or this website.

Best regards, Jens Lange and Jan Crusius