Correlation of HEXACO Honesty-Humility With Disordered Gambling

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The HEXACO model of personality is a six-dimensional model of human personality that was introduced by Canadian researchers Michael Ashton and Kibeom Lee (Larsen, Buss, King & Ensley, 2017). The HEXACO model of personality adds the dimension of honesty-humility, which is not a part of the original Five-Factor model of personality. Larsen et al. (2017) state that individuals who have high levels of honesty-humility are associated with trait adjectives such as trustworthy, honest, sincere, and unselfish. On the other hand, individuals who score low in terms of honesty-humility can be associated with trait adjectives including greedy, conceited, pompous, and egotistical (Larsen et al., 2017). As of late researchers have begun to explore the correlation between the HEXACO personality dimensions and disordered gambling. Larsen et al. (2017) depict disordered gambling as a behavioural addiction that is characterized by repetitive and persistent gambling behaviour that causes notable issues in the individual’s life, for instance with friends, work or school. Previous research has shown that there is a negative correlation between honesty-humility and greater gambling severity (McGrath, Neilson, Lee, Rash, & Rad, 2018). More specifically, McGrath et al. (2018) found individuals who scored low on the honesty-humility dimension were associated with greater gambling severity, and individuals who scored highly in honesty-humility predicted a greater likelihood of not gambling in the previous 12 months.

In connection with these prior findings, Kim, Rash, & McGrath (2018) looked to further explore the correlation of honesty-humility and disordered gambling, more specifically in terms of the dimension’s relationship with both gambling status and severity. Kim et al. (2018) hypothesized that honesty-humility would be the most significant predictor of an individual’s gambling status. Specifically, Kim et al. (2018) hypothesized that people lower in honesty-humility were far more likely to partake in gambling activities. The researchers also hypothesized that honesty-humility would be a significant predictor of an individual’s gambling severity, stating that individuals low in honesty-humility would be far more severe gamblers than individuals who scored highly in honesty-humility (Kim et al., 2018).

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Kim et al. (2018) recruited 427 community gamblers as participants of the study. The pool of participants consisted solely of citizens of the United States of America. Participants of the study were gathered online via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, both current gamblers (205 participants) and lifetime non-gamblers (222 participants) were recruited. Sample one (current gamblers) was 39.2 % female, with a mean age of 33.2 for its participants, along with two-thirds of the sample being Caucasian. Sample two (non-gamblers) was 45.2 % male, with a mean age of 36.1, and with 20.9 % of the sample being non-Caucasian. Participants of the study completed two questionnaires, both the nine-item Problem Gambling Severity Index and the 60 item HEXACO-60 Personality Inventory (Kim et al., 2018). The PGSI included nine Likert-type items that measured an individual’s gambling severity based on the sum of points they accumulated (Ferris, Wynne, & Single, 2011). The items on the PGSI were ranked from one zero (not at all) to three (often). The HEXACO questionnaire included 60 Likert-type items that measured how various personality traits including honesty-humility correlated to one’s gambling habits (Ashton & Lee, 2009). The items on the HEXACO-60 were ranked from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree).

Overall, the results found by Kim et al. (2018) support the hypothesis’ developed by the researchers prior to the study. As predicted, the researchers found that the personality dimension of honesty-humility was significantly correlated with both current gambling status and severity (Kim et al., 2018). The researchers also found that of all the personality dimensions within the HEXACO model of personality, honesty-humility was the most pertinent predictor of gambling status and severity. The results of the study confirmed that individuals who were low in honesty-humility were more likely to gamble, additionally, such individuals also exhibited greater disordered gambling severity. From the pool of participants gathered 34.1 % classified as non-problem gamblers, 19.5 % classified as low-risk gamblers, 18% classified as moderate-risk gamblers, and 28.3 % classified as high-risk gamblers. The results found by the researchers directly align with some of the traits of honesty-humility in general. Firstly, individuals who are low in honesty-humility are motivated toward material gain and more likely to be dishonest to achieve such personal gain, traits which can be manifested through activity such as gambling (Ashton & Lee, 2009). Secondly, individuals who are low in honesty-humility are motivated by greed (Larsen et al., 2017), which correlates perfectly with the need to gamble in an attempt to hit the jackpot.

There are some apparent limitations to the study made by Kim et al. (2018). Firstly, this study was conducted through self-report data, although this is a common method for measuring aspects of personality it is not always the most accurate. Individuals in this study may not have accurately described their gambling habits and severity in an effort to come off in a more positive light. In the future researchers in this area may wish to collect observer report data so the bias I discussed can be eliminated. Another limitation of this study would be that all forms of gambling are ranked equally, however certain forms of gambling such as poker are far less serious than a scratch and win ticket, especially in terms of potential payout and risk involved. Future researchers in this topic of discussion should look to focus more on gambling status and severity in terms of serious gambling activities with the highest payout potential involved.

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