Older women have often been portrayed as green-eyed monsters, envying the young and hankering after their own lost looks.

But it is actually the young who are the most jealous of each other, envious of their friends' appearances, relationships, and social success, a new study has revealed.

It also appears that both men and women are more likely to envy someone who is approximately their own age and of the same gender.

The paper covers two studies: one that surveyed more than 900 people aged 18 to 80 on their own experiences of being envious, and another that asked 800 more in the same age range to remember when they had been the targets of envy.

Envy was a common experience. More than three quarters of the participants reported experiencing envy in the last year, with slightly more women (79.4 per cent) than men (74.1 per cent).

But they found that the experience declined with age.

Around 80 per cent of people younger than 30 reported feeling envious in the last year. However, for those aged 50 and over, that figure went down to 69 percent.