Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedPSY 410:Individual and Family Assessment—FALL 2012/2013Is There A Relationship Between Personality Traits,Psychological Well-Being, And A Person’s Preference for HorrorFilms?Prepared forDr. Man ChungZayed University, Abu DhabiPrepared byMira Jamal, M80000771Wadima Alhamed, 200821531January 28, 2013
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedAbstractObjectives: The aim of this study is to investigate the correlation between personalitytraits, psychological well-being, and the aversion or interest in horror movies.Methods: This study had 20 participants in total. They each completed the Five FactorPersonality Inventory (FFPI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and aquestionnaire on their preference and appreciation of horror movies, and its effects on them.The participants chosen are university students between the ages of 18 and 26, with theaverage age being 21.Results: The results showed a significant correlation between psychological well-beingwith neuroticism, openness and their ability to feel empathy for victims in horror movies.However, we found no significant correlation between enjoyment of horror movies andpersonality traits or psychological-well-being.Conclusion: To conclude, people with high neurotic traits and low scores in openness, areat a greater risk of having a lower level of psychological well-being. In addition, people witha lower level of psychological well-being show less empathy towards victims in horrormovies.IntroductionThe aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between personality traits,psychological well-being, and enjoyment of horror movies. It will first take a look at thecharacteristics that go under the Big Five personality traits, then look at the relationshipsbetween personality traits and psychological well-being, and later, the relationships betweenpersonality traits and enjoyment of horror movies. Finally, the study will look at therelationship between levels of psychological well-being and interest in horror movies.Personality TraitsPersonality involves “characteristics whose unique organization define an individual(Domino, & Domino, pg. 67, 2006). The 5 main personality traits that will be looked at inthis study are Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Openess, and Neuroticism.Agreeableness involves characteristics which revolves around social harmony. Thesemay include friendliness, helpfulness, showing consideration, selflessness, avoiding conflict,and often comprimising their interest or opinion for others. (Johnson, n.d.). A high scorewould reveal adaptability and getting along with others, whereas a low score would revealskepticism, doubt in other people’s ideas, and unwilling to get involved. (Laura, 2011).Conscientiousness involves characteristics of an individual that show control andindependence. They are often action-oriented, and look to making their own decisions. Theylove organisation, and can be reliable (Johnson, n.d.). High scores in conscientiousness revealfocus, and organization, whereas low scores reveal traits such as unorganization, flexibility,and easilty distracted (Laura, 2011).
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedExtraversion’s personality traits include assertiveness, being action oriented, and thewant for opportunities where they can feel excited, gain attention, and express their thoughtsand opinions (Johnson, n.d.). Low scores in this factor would reveal that the person is anintrovert, likes to stay out of the focus, and does not talk or express themselves as much(Laura, 2011).Openness to experience describes a person who is curious, open to new ideas,imaginative, and creative (Johnson, n.d.). High scores show a broad intellectual curiosity andand independence. Low scores show that the individual will prefer familiarity, unenthusiasticabout new experiences, and an unadventurous trait (Laura, 2011).Neuroticism involves characteristics of worry, misery, emotional instability, and astruggle of coping with daily activities (Johnson, n.d.). High scores show that the individualoften has negative feelings which can lead to anxiety, anger, or depression. On the otherhand, low scores reveal that the individual has the ability to control their stress and feel calm(Laura, 2011).Personality traits and psychological-well-beingResearch shows that a high score on neuroticism could have a negative effect on a person’swell being (Garcia, & Erlandsson, 2011). This means that a person with a high score ofneuroticism is more likely to have a high score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scalequestionnaire.Personality traits and enjoyment of horror moviesPeople who have a low score in Agreeableness show a large interest in heavy metal music,and horror movies (Durham, 2009). In addition, people who are extraverts are more likely towant to be around the action and seek opportunities for excitement (Laura, 2011). People whoenjoy the thrill of getting scared and turn to dark entertainment usually have the personalitytraits that include low Conscientiousness, low Agreeableness and high Extraversion(Rentfrow, Goldberg & Zilca, R., 2011). There was a gap on literature that looked atrelationships between openness scores and enjoyment of horror movies.Psychological Well-Being and interest in horror moviesDue to the gap on literature that has studied or looked for correlations between psychological-well-being and a person’s enjoyment of horror films, we decided to use our own research toinvestigate if there is a link between the two.We would speculate that if a person were neurotic, with a greater risk of low levels ofpsychological well-being, they would most likely enjoy horror movies for the sake of seeingothers in a shoddier situation than themselves.The purpose of this study was to investigate if there are any relationships between a person’sinterest in horror movies in accordance to their personality traits or psychological well-being.Our findings can be helpful by providing a greater understanding behind people’s enjoymentof getting scared through horror movies.
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedResearch questionIs there a relationship between personality traits, psychological-well-being, and a person’sdesire or hatred towards horror films?Hypothesis (H1): A high score on neuroticism will have a positive correlation with theoverall HADS score.Hypothesis (H0): Neuroticism score does not have a correlation with a person’s score onHADS.Hypothesis (H2): A person with low Agreeableness will enjoy horror movies.Hypothesis (H0): Low Agreeableness is not related to a person’s enjoyment of horrormovies.Hypothesis (H3): A person with a low Extraversion score will enjoy horror movies.Hypothesis (H0): A low Extraversion score is not correlated to enjoyment of horror movies.Hypothesis (H4): People who have a low score on the Conscientiousness personality traitwill have a high interest in horror movies.Hypothesis (H0): There is no correlation between a person’s Conscientiousness score, andinterest in horror movies.Hypothesis (H5): People who have a low level of psychological well-being enjoy horrormovies.Hypothesis (H0): There is no relationship between a person’s psychological-well being andenjoyment of horror movies.Hypothesis (H6): People who have a low level of openness have a lower level ofpsychological well-being.Hypothesis (H0): There is no relationship between Openness and a person’s psychological-well being.MethodsThe procedureA total of 20 participants (F=10, M=10) were used in this study with an average age of 21(range: 18-26). The majority were UAE Nationals, with only 2 participants being ofEuropean descent. All the participants were single, living with their families, and studying inuniversity- meaning they all have a high school diploma and are currently studying for theirbachelor degree. The female participants were recruited by randomly asking them on theZayed University campus to fill out the questionnaires on FFPI, HADS, and horror movies.However, male participants were chosen by asking female students on campus to pass on thequestionnaire to their brothers, or males they may know. Participants of the study were told
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedthat we were doing a study to find correlations between personality traits, psychological-well-being, and their interest in horror movies. Once the questionnaires were completed, theparticipants were asked to drop off the questionnaires directly. A total of 30 questionnaireswere given out, 20 responded, 7 declined (as they did not have the time), and 3 people did notrespond.Demographic information of participantsMean SDAge 21.25 0.51299N %Male 10 50Female 10 50Single 20 100Married 0 0Divorced 0 0Separated 0 0Widowed 0 0High School Degree 20 100University Degree 0 0Studying in University 20 100Living Alone 0 0Living with Family 20 100The questionnaires:1. The Five-Factor Personality Inventory (FFPI)-(McCrae & Costa, 1987) measuresparticipants’ personality traits, which are separated into sub-scales of the Big Fivefactors of personality: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness, andConscientiousness. It contains a total of 60 statements (12 per personality trait), whichcan be completed in around 20-25 minutes. Participants are required to rate thestatements on a Likert scale (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, stronglyagree) that have scores assigned to them (0-4). Once completed, the scores are addedup to give a total for each personality factor with a total score of 48 for each domain.“In the normal population, the five factor scores appear to be internally consistent,stable and valid,” with the alpha being at 0.85 (Hendriks, Hofstee & Raad, 1999).2. Hospital and Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)-(Zigmond & Snaith, 1983) isused to measure anxiety and depression levels. It has a total of 14 questions, whichare in the form of a Likert scale (e.g. never, not often, sometimes, most of the time).Each question is given the score of 0-3, which can then add up to a total of 21 foranxiety and 21 for depression (42 total). HADS is a reliable questionnaire as it wasfound to do well in assessing “the symptom severity and caseness of anxiety disordersand depression in both somatic, psychiatric and primary care patients and in the
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedgeneral population.” Cronbachs alpha of HADS is 0.83, which shows that it isreliable (Bjelland, I., Dal, A.A., Haug, T.T., & Neckelmann, D., 2002).3. Questionnaire on Horror Movies was self-created to allow us to measure the overallenjoyment or detestation towards horror movies. It consists of a total of 10 questions,which includes open-ended questions as well as Likert Scales. The questionnaire wasseparated into two sections. The first section allowed us to gain some backgroundinformation on our participants’ preference of horror movies. E.g. the type of horrormovie (thriller, action, slasher, zombie, etc.). The section was scored through a Likertscale (e.g. strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree), which allowedus to sum up the answers out of a total score of 43- which would be the highest scoreindicating a passion for horror movies. The questions also aimed to measure empathytowards victims in horror movies, by asking participants to rate, on a scale of 1-8, ifthey can sense the pain of the characters being violently killed, if they feel angertowards the killer, and if they have any feelings that arise while watching a gruesomescene. In addition, a few questions were added which allowed us to know if theparticipants can identify with the killer and if they found horror movies to be funny.ResultsFive Factor Personality Inventory (FFPI)Table 1- Descriptive StatisticsN Minimum Maximum Mean Std. DeviationPersonality N 20 9.00 33.00 21.5000 5.84448Personality E 20 24.00 40.00 32.7500 5.08739Personality O 20 14.00 38.00 26.9500 6.01292Personality A 20 14.00 39.00 28.6000 6.98419Personality C 20 16.00 44.00 32.7000 7.24823FFPI- Looking at the descriptive statistics of each personality, we found that Extraversionand Conscientiousness were almost the same, followed by Agreeableness, Openness, and thelowest being Neuroticism.HADSTable 2- Descriptive StatisticsN Minimum Maximum Mean Std. DeviationTotal HADS 20 4.00 25.00 12.7500 6.67182HADS- The table shows that the majority of our participants did not have a low score onpsychological well-being. The results also show that 75% of the participants do not get a
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedfrightened feeling in their stomach, and only 20% felt restless quite a lot, and a small 20%often have a feeling of panic. We also found that only 25% of our participants occasionallyget a frightened feeling of butterflies in their stomach.Horror MoviesTable 3- Descriptive StatisticsN Minimum Maximum Mean Std. DeviationEnjoy horror 20 .00 3.00 1.5500 1.23438Empathy 20 .00 18.00 8.3500 5.36337Funny 20 .00 4.00 1.2500 1.29269Identify with killer 20 .00 4.00 1.4500 1.14593Thriller jump 20 .00 3.00 1.5500 1.19097Watch Alone 20 .00 3.00 .9000 .96791Nightmare 20 .00 3.00 1.8000 1.05631Experience 20 .00 1.00 .2000 .41039Total Horror 20 4.00 30.00 17.1000 8.62615Horror Movies- The table shows that we had a range of people who either enjoyed horrormovies or despised them. 45% of the respondents enjoyed horror movies only a little bit, with35% who enjoyed horror a great deal. Only 3 out of the 20 respondents thought horrormovies were funny, with 40% finding nothing funny about horror movies. The results alsoshow that while 25% could not identify with the killer on any level, 15% said that they could,with the remainder being neutral.Table 4- Correlations between HADS and Personality TraitsN E O A CHADS PearsonCorrelation.709**-.095 -.469*-.077 -.298Sig.(2-tailed) .000 .690 .037 .748 .202N 20 20 20 20 20The correlation results showed that Neuroticism and Openness were significantly correlatedto a lower level of psychological well-being. It also shows that there is no significantcorrelation between Extraversion, Agreeableness, or Conscientiousness with a person’spsychological well-being.Table 5- Correlations between Total Horror and Personality TraitsN E O A CTotal Horror PearsonCorrelation.152 .025 -.239 .030 .071Sig. (2-tailed) .521 .918 .309 .902 .765
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedNeuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, are notsignificantly correlated with people’s enjoyment of horror movies.Table 6- Correlations between Total Horror, HADS, Feelings of Empathy, andIdentifying with the killer.TH HADS EmpathyIdentify withkillerTotal Horror PearsonCorrelation1 .293 .900**.379Sig. (2-tailed) .210 .000 .100N 20 20 20 20HADS PearsonCorrelation.293 1 .498*.133Sig. (2-tailed) .210 .025 .578N 20 20 20 20Empathy PearsonCorrelation.900**.498*1 .213Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .025 .368N 20 20 20 20Identify withkillerPearsonCorrelation.379 .133 .213 1Sig. (2-tailed) .100 .578 .368N 20 20 20 201. A person’s enjoyment of horror movies (TH) is not significantly correlated to aperson’s psychological well-being.2. A person’s a psychological well-being, is significantly related to their feelings ofempathy towards victims in horror movies.3. Psychological well-being is not significantly related with the participants’ ability toidentify with the killer in horror movies.DiscussionCorrelation coefficients were carried out to make associations between psychological-well-being, personality traits, and enjoyment or hatred towards horror movies. We firstlooked at the correlations between Neuroticism and psychological well-being to either acceptor reject our first hypothesis. Looking at our results, we found that Neuroticism issignificantly correlated with psychological well-being, meaning that as the scores ofNeuroticism goes up, so does the score on the HADS. This means that we can accept H1.From this finding, we can conclude that people who have neurotic traits are more susceptibleto suffer from anxiety or depression. As a result, we believe that finding neurotic traits in aperson can help with early detection of depressive or anxiety symptoms. Earlier researchsupports our finding, as it states that a high score on neuroticism could have a negative effecton a person’s well being (Garcia, & Erlandsson, 2011). Since the characteristics ofNeuroticism involve worry, misery, emotional instability, and excessive negative feelings,
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedour findings were no surprise. To have the proeeding characteristics may have an impact onone’s psychological well-being (Laura, 2011).One of our results that surprised us was our finding on the relationship betweenopenness and psychological well-being. Although we did not find literature that mentions thecorrelation, our results showed a significant correlation between the two. This shows that theless open to experience people are, the higher their score may be on the HADS. Looking atthe characteristics of a person who has a high score in Openness, the relationship that wefound makes a lot of sense. For example, a person who has a high score in Openness is morelikely to be imaginative, open to new ideas, up for new experiences, and curious about things.We then thought of how these traits may correlate to avoiding depressive symptoms. As aresult, we turned to behavioral activation. Since the 1970s, this type of psychotherapy hasbeen used as a treatment for depression. It involves encouraging the client to get lively andjoin activities that would give them pleasure (Kanter, et al, 2010). Looking at behavioralactivation and how it helps treat depression, we believe since people with openness are moreactive and open to new ideas, meaning that they engage in behavioral activation on their own,this could be the reason of having a higher level of psychological well-being.People who are agreeable show signs of the need to keep social harmony (Johnson,n.d.). We were expecting to find a relationship between Agreeableness and enjoyment ofhorror movies for a number of reasons. The first reason being the literature we found whichstated that people who have lower scores on agreeableness tend to enjoy things that are morehardcore and dark (Durham, 2009). However, our results did not match our literature. Sinceour results showed a non-significant correlation between agreeableness and enjoyment ofhorror movies, we could not accept our hypothesis. We were surprised at not finding arelationship because of the characteristics (skeptical, argumentative, and unwilling) of peoplewho are not agreeable. They are more skeptical, argumentative, and unwilling (Laura, 2011).Therefore, we thought people with those characteristics were more likely to enjoy conflictand find a thrill in getting scared (Rentfrow, et al, 2011).Another result that surprised us was the non-significant correlation betweenExtraversion and horror movies. Due to personal experiences and encounters with people weknow who enjoy horror movies, we thought that people who are introverts are more likely toenjoy horror movies. The reason behind this is because we think that people who areexpressive and outgoing may enjoy opportunities with excitement, but because of theirexpressive behavior, they may find horror movies annoying. In addition, people who areintroverts tend to express less and have thought going through their mind that many peopledo not know about (Johnson, n.d.). For this reason, we thought that introverts would enjoyhorror movies, where they can think about what is going on and have the ability to stayfocused throughout the movie. However, we may argue with our thought, and state thatextraverts would enjoy horror movies because of their action-oriented-personality (Johnson,n.d.). Extroverts want to be excited and seek for attention, meaning that if they do watchhorror movies, they may get attention from others around them on a social standard, and notmiss out on the conversation. Regardless of our literature and own hypothesis, we found thatour results supported neither. Therefore, our third hypothesis is rejected.Looking at the traits of people with high levels conscientiousness, we were expectingto find that they would not enjoy horror movies, as they would want to control the situations
Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedin the movie and probably yell at the character that’s about to get killed. However, our resultsshowed no significant relationship. Therefore, we cannot accept Hypothesis 4, despite of thestatement that people who turn to the “dark entertainment-preference,” usually have lowConscientiousness (Rentfrow, et al, 2011). Although we were surprised about not finding arelationship, we believe the reason we did not is because of our lack in variety of participantsthat would accurately represent each personality trait.The final point we would like to discuss revolves around our fifth hypothesis. Webelieved that people who have low psychological well-being would enjoy horror movies, asthey would like to see others in a poorer condition than themselves. The reason we have thisidea came from an article, which stated that people can become depressed if they thinkeveryone else is happier than themselves (Steele, 2004). As a result, we thought we wouldfind a relationship between these two factors. However, our findings do not agree, andshowed that there is no significant correlation between enjoyment of horror and a person’spsychological well-being. As a result, we could not accept H5, as well as our theory. We didhowever find a significant correlation between a person’s score on HADS, and their feelingsof empathy towards the victims in the movies. The higher the score, the less empathetic theparticipants were. Therefore we can come up with a new theory, stating that the moreneurotic a person is, with high feelings of anxiety and depression, the less likely they are tofeel empathic towards victims in horror movies.LimitationsAlthough we were able to find significant correlations through our results, we did havecertain limitations. The biggest limitation was our lack of participants for the study. If we hadmore people, the results may have changed on the traits. For example, neuroticism may ormay not have gone up. Similarly all the other scores may have changed. As a result of theselimitations, we believe that a more controlled group of people; a set amount of participantswho have a passion towards horror movies and a set amount of people with lowpsychological well-being, would allow us to effectively compare their characteristics(personality traits), with the other 2 factors.ConclusionTo conclude, people with high neurotic traits are at greater risk of having low levels ofpsychological well-being. People with a lower level of psychological well-being show lessempathy towards victims in horror movies. Although we did not find a correlation betweenenjoyment of horror movies with personality traits or psychological well-being, we believethat a more intense and controlled study should be done to gain stronger results.
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Psy 410: Individual & Family AssessmentDone By: Mira Jamal & Wadima AlHamedRentfrow, P. J., Goldberg, L. R., & Zilca, R. (2011). Listening, Watching, and Reading: TheStructure and Correlates of Entertainment Preferences. Journal Of Personality, 79(2),223-258. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00662.xSteele, A. (2004). Depressed people crave warmth. Calgary Herald. Retrieved fromhttp://search.proquest.com/docview/245142347?accountid=15192