Tuesday, October 23, 2007

statistical sadness

I've been reading an article for statistics tomorrow, a paper that applies multi-level modeling, which we've been learning about. The authors are looking at what indicators predict relationship changes among couples during the transition to parenthood.

Anyway, one of the predictors for increases in conflict and decreases in love is neuroticism. Now, I had a vague concept of what neuroticism meant, but I decided to go look it up. It sounded suspiciously like me in some ways. Wikipedia says: "It can be defined as an enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than the average to experience such feelings as anxiety, anger, guilt, and depression. They respond more poorly to environmental stress, and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult."

So, I went and took the inventory used in the paper I'm reading, the NEO-PIR, to see where I fell on the scale of neuroticism. Turns out: "Your score on Neuroticism is high, indicating that you are easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be sensitive and emotional." I was rated "high" on all of the indicators (depression, anxiety, self-consciousness, vulnerability) for the variable except for anger, for which I was rated "low," and immoderation, for which I was rated "average."

While these characteristics are not particularly good characteristics to have, the inventory results were not as disheartening as the paper's assertion that "neuroticism is the personality characteristic most consistently linked with negative relationship outcomes."

Who knew reading for statistics could be so depressing? Oh wait. There I go displaying my neuroticism again.

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