Dissertation Defense — Stacey McElroy

“A review of humility measures and a test of the social bonds and social oil hypotheses”
by: Stacey McElroy
Less than ten years ago, the science of humility seemed stuck with intractable measurement problems. However, due to theoretical innovations, measures have proliferated in recent years. In order to avoid fragmentation, humility science faces a critical stage of needing to reconcile and integrate definitions and measures. In Chapter 1, I review 22 measures of humility, including (a) survey measures of general humility, (b) survey measures of humility subdomains, (c) indirect measures of humility, and (d) state measures of humility. For each measure, I describe the scale structure, development of items, evidence of reliability, and evidence of construct validity. I also describe and compare the various content areas covered by each measure, and conclude by making recommendations for advancing research on humility. Then in Chapter 2, I test the Social Bonds and Social Oil hypotheses of humility in a sample of 99 interracial couples. In line with the Social Bonds Hypothesis, I predicted that culturally-based ineffective arguing would lead to lower perceptions of one’s partner’s cultural humility, which would lead to lower relationship satisfaction and commitment. I conducted a mediation analysis using the PROCESS Macro developed for SPSS, and found that approximately 26% of the variance in relationship satisfaction and about 8% of the variance in commitment was explained by the effect of ineffective arguing through cultural humility. To test the Social Oil Hypothesis, I first attempted to estimate trail cultural humility by creating an aggregate score that combined self-report, informant-report, and observational coding of cultural humility. I predicted that trait cultural humility would moderate the effect of frequency of culturally-based disagreements on relationship satisfaction and commitment. Results of a moderation analysis conducted using the PROCESS Macro were not significant. However, results of this study add to the growing body of evidence for the Social Bonds Hypothesis of humility, and advance the field of research on intercultural couples by providing quantitative support for themes noted in previous qualitative studies on intercultural couples.