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Neuroticism and anxiety

Neuroticism and Anxiety

Abstract

The experiment that was performed focussed on the correlation between Neuroticism and Anxiety. Neuroticism is on the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) and Anxiety is on the Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI). The purpose of this experiment was to see whether these two characteristics had a distinct correlation. The study involved students at Huron College, who were in Psychology 022. There were 147 students who voluntarily participated in the study. The study involved two different personality tests. On the first day the students filled out the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) and on the following class the students filled out the Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI). The results that transpired were, Neuroticism and Anxiety have a high correlational value and they are directly related to each other. These two characteristics also have a high significance value and the results obtained were not due to chance.

Correlational study between Anxiety and Neuroticism

Personality consists of all the relatively stable and distinctive styles of thought, behavior, and emotional response that characterize a person’s adaptations to surrounding circumstances (Maddi, 1976). That people differ from each other is obvious, how and why is less clear and is the subject of psychologists to find out the differences in personalities between people. Why do different situations cause varied reactions in people in such a distinct manner? Some people love going skydiving, while others would never even consider attempting that action. What traits cause particular individuals to enjoy an act, while others are so fearful of something it causes them to feel pain and dismay. There is not a single answer to this question, but there are many factors that play a role in determining the solution.

It is proven that individuals have personality traits that differentiate them from everyone else. No two people are going to be exactly the same and have the same emotions and mannerisms. There is not one distinct answer to why different people enjoy different activities and carry themselves in a different fashion. A few worthy explanations are, that in early life experiences one realizes, through their actions, what is positive and negative in their own eye’s and what they enjoy. Conflicts and solutions as a child are also said to shape the personality of an individual because they make the individual think hard about their decision and how it will affect them. Other psychologists have thought, it has to do with the biological makeup of a person. This is also very plausible because many children turn out to be distinctly similar to their parents and often resemble them in actions and the way they handle consequential situation.

The Eysenck personality Inventory (EPI) is a test, which measures personality for two distinct characteristics. The two characteristics being examined are extroversion and neuroticism. This test is a series of 24 yes or no questions, which measures the two traits. In the test there is also a "lie scale" to detect if a person is not providing their true feelings on the questions. This lie scale also provides that the answers were thought out and not randomly chosen. After all this has been completed, re-testing may occur to provide assurance and concretness of the results.

The Eysenck personality trait that will be assessed in this particular study will be neuroticism, which is a trait dimension that refers to emotional instability and maladjustment (Gleitman, Fridlund & Reisberg, 1999). If a person scores high on this trait, the individual tends to be emotionally over responsive and would has a hard time returning back to a normal state after any emotional experience. This type of person will generally be tense, nervous and easily excitable and they will also frequently complain of minor somatic upsets such as insomnia, headaches and backaches. These constant problems are normal for neurotic people and are difficult to eliminate in their life. These individuals do not want to be this way, they often feel overpowering pressure and get nervous over small, unimportant situations. With these high neurotic (N) scores, a person does not have to be taken out of the normal realm of life and they can still lead a normal active life and functions in the workplace admirably (Eysenck, 1968).

The Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI) measures personality reflecting a variety of interpersonal, cognitive and value orientations likely to have important implications for a person’s functioning (Jackson, 1994). This test consists of 300 true/false questions. There are 15 scales that are possible to be achieved and instructions are on the back of the booklet. On each of the scales there are ten true and ten-false keyed statements. The scales were set up in a way to minimize the role of acquienscene and to also permit definition of each pole of the bipolar scale dimensions with positively worded content (Jackson, 1994).

The Jackson Personality trait that is evaluated in this study is Anxiety. Anxiety is within the emotional section of the five Jackson categories. Anxiety is a characteristic in an individual, which causes them stress, tension and fear without providing a clear rationale for this behavior. Anxiety can arise with no consequential situation and the person may not even be aware of when their anxiety is going to flare up. Anxiety is normal trait that all people experience at some point, but when a person experiences constant anxiety and nervousness it is abnormal and is an emotional disorder. These individuals constantly feel worried, irritable and are very easily excitable and shaken at any sudden change out of the normal. A person with high anxiety may also be viewed as being a generally worrisome person in day-to-day activities.

In studies done in the past there is a proven correlation between Neuroticism and Anxiety. In 1984 there was a study performed which analyzed the relationship of irrational beliefs between anxiety and neuroticism. This test was given to 600 college students and they completed a Neuroticism Scale Questionnaire (NQA). The results to this test were these two traits were significantly related to one another (Wright, Couch, 1984).

In another study, which assessed these characteristics in 1984, 143 high school students completed an inventory that measured four factors. The factors measured in the study were neuroticism, arousability, emotionality and anxiety. An analysis of the results showed a high correlation between neuroticism and emotionality. This correlation therefore yielded a three-factor model of anxiety. This correlation encompassing neuroticism/emotionality and anxiety as all being mutually combined (El-Zahhar, Hocevar, 1984). This three-factor correlation provides a relationship between anxiety and neuroticism. This also provides a basis for reasoning because anxiety is in the emotional section of Jackson Personality Inventory, which shows how the three intertwine with each other.

Based on the evidence provided in the two correlational studies in 1984 and from the information acquired from other reliable studies, there is a positive correlation between neuroticism and anxiety and therefore that is the basis for my hypothesis of the current study. There is also additional proof of a relationship between the two characteristics due to the simple fact that many of the traits that relate to neuroticism also have a strong link to anxiety.

Method

Participants

The participants in this study were 150 University Students. Three students in the study didn’t complete the booklet properly, so therefore there was only 147 eligible students for which information would be able to be abstracted. Within this large group, they were 41 male students and 106 female students who took part in the study. All of the students attended Huron College, an affiliated college to The University of Western Ontario. The students were all enrolled in an introductory Psychology 022 course at Huron. Their participation in the experiment was not mandatory and if they did not choose or felt uncomfortable attending the study, they were exempted. Huron College is an undergraduate school, which focuses on Arts and Social science courses.

Materials

The participants in the study completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory (Eysenck & Eysenck 1968) and Jackson Personality Inventory (Jackson 1994).

The evidence indicates that the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) is a reliable and valid measure of personality. Eysenck and Eysenck (1968) report that the EPI has re-test reliability over a period of nine months of .92 and are constant with ratings of them given by their peers, providing evidence of criterion validity. It was observed that all six-anxiety items investigated posses item-scale biserial correlation higher than that for any irrelevant scale, and the proportions of people enduring the items fall within the range of .2 and .8. The three selected anxiety items were all characterized by acceptably high item-scale biserial correlation (Jackson, 1994).

There is evidence that the Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI) is a reliable and valid measure of personality. One of the ways to consider internal consistency reliability is in terms of the correlation between individual items and total scores. Items should show a strong correlation on average with their own scale’s total score. In the Internal Consistency Reliability for Anxiety there was a proven reliability factor between .77-. 95 (Jackson, 1994).

Procedure

Students in Psychology 022 at Huron College arrived in class on the first Tuesday and Thursday in September and sat down in random seating arrangement. On the Tuesday the students filled out the Eysenck Personality Test (EPI) in the middle of another test done on the same day. On the Thursday the students filled out the Jackson Personality Test (JPI). The professor instructed the students that they were involved in an experiment and if they did not wish to partake in the experiment then they could leave at any point of the study and they would not be penalized. The students were given the full 50-minute class in both occasions to complete the assignment, and if they completed the questionnaire early they could leave. The students then proceeded to read the instructions and began filling out their answers.

Results

The students data was recorded on SPSS that analyzed the information obtained, calculated it and presented the results. The results in this study provide credibility in the correlation between the two characteristics Neuroticism and Anxiety. In terms of neuroticism the Mean score was 13.54 and the Standard Deviation was 3.79. In respect to anxiety the Mean score was 11.78 and the Standard Deviation was 4.45.

The two traits Neuroticism and Anxiety were highly correlated at .65. This number obtained proves that the correlation is significant because the probability is less than .05, indicating the results were not due to chance.

Discussion

According to the finding in the study, the results of the experiment directly correspond with my hypothesis. It was determined that Neuroticism on the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) and Anxiety on the Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI) posess a strong positive correlation. These two characteristics have many of the same traits, which provide a substantial relationship between the two. In past studies performed and now with this study completed, it has been shown that this high correlation is significant. Neuroticism and Anxiety are two traits that are always related to each other and when one is discussed the other is always incorporated. This study also has a very high significant rating, which provided proof that this study and the facts obtained were not due to chance and bestow a strong solid link.

The level of scientific adequacy in this study was very high but there is always some element of a study that could effect the results in a negative way. This test was done very diligently and the level of fault was minimal however, mistakes were made which could have altered the results. One problem in this study could have been sampling. The sample used in order to conduct this study contained few differences, which could have altered the results of the study. The sample comprised of 147 university students in an introductory psychology course at Huron College, which is an affiliated college of the University of Western Ontario. These university students are unlike most other people in society when encompassing a study because these students are all around the same age, from the same background and have a similar mindset. They are not representative of the population as a whole and do not allow for the generalization of the results obtained.

The control in the study is another factor, which could have caused discrepancy in the results. The experiment as a whole was well controlled, however there was a few circumstances that could have caused inaccuracies. The time of the test could have affected a person’s thought. Depending on whether a person had just eaten lunch or was going to eat following the survey could have affected the answers given and the thought that went into each question. If the individual was hungry, they might have been thinking about eating rather then the questions at hand and filled out the survey fast so they could go eat. Another characteristic that could have effected the results could have been the day in which the test was presented. It was given at the beginning of school, these individuals first few days of University, which is an enormous leap from high school. Many of the students didn’t know that many people and they were in new surroundings. The students could have been out of their normal "mental thought" and been very uptight and nervous. The two tests were also presented on two different days, which could cause a problem because individuals’ feelings from day to day can switch, especially students. This could have caused people to answer differently from day to day depending on how they were feeling on that day. If one day they were happy and on the other day they were mad, the results of their answers could have been remarkably different and affected the test. The Measurement in this study was good, as both the EPI and JPI have been found to be reliable and valid. The two variables Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) and Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI) were both sound and caused no uncertainty in the study.

Subsequently, it was proven that the hypothesis was correct, Anxiety and Neuroticism are correlated. A future study could be executed to compare two various types of social classes and how children in the different types of atmospheres have responded to anxiety and neuroticism in everyday life. This study would look at teenagers because they are most likely to provide truthful answers and they are at the age of where changes can take place. This experiment could demonstrate how money, experience and opportunities in a person’s life affect these two characteristics. We can also investigate whether these two characteristics have a correlation with individual people or with social classes in general.

A practical application that could be used from the information obtained in this study could be gyms and supplement companies attracting additional clientele. These companies could market themselves for people that are constantly nervous and tense. There are vitamins on the market that are said to relax a person and working out is a stress relief. This is also very beneficial for the individual because by taking the vitamins and working out, they will feel better and be more relaxed in day to day life.

The relationship found in this study provides evidence for a correlation and reasoning for future studies comparing Anxiety and Neuroticism.

Bibliography:

References

El-Zahhar, N., Hocevar, D. (1984). Anxiety, Arousability and Neuroticism. As summarized by the York Region Database.

Eysenck, H.J., & Eysenck, S.B.G. (1968). Eysenck personality inventory. San Diego, CA.: Educational Testing Service.

Gleitman, H., Fridland, A.J, & Reisberg, D. (1999). Psychology. (5th ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Maddi, S. (1976). Personality theories: A comparative analysis (3rd ed.).

Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.

Jackson, D.N. (1994). Jackson Personality Inventory- Revised Manual. Port Huron: Research Psychologists Press.

Wortman, C.B., Loftus, E.B, Weaver, C, & Atkinson, M.L. (2000).

Psychology.(ALTERNATE EDITION FOR CANADA). Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited

Wright, L.S., Couch, D.R., (1984). An Empirical Evaluation of Ellis’ Rational Emotive Theory. As summarized by the York Region Database.

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