Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Everett Worthington


The study of humility has progressed slowly due to lack of theory and measurement issues. In the present dissertation, I review the literature on humility and propose a theory of relational humility. The model conceptualizes humility as a personality judgment, aligning its study with a large literature that spans social and personality psychology. Then, in four studies, I examined initial evidence for the theoretical model. In Study 1 (N=300), I created the Relational Humility Scale (RHS) and evaluated its items using exploratory factor analysis. The RHS was found to have 3 subscales: Global Humility, Superiority, and Accurate View of Self. In Study 2, its structure was replicated on an independent sample (N = 196). In Study 3, I conducted a longitudinal study of undergraduate students (N =84) in forming groups. As predicated, trait humility was related to acceptance and status in the group, as well as other personality traits related to humility such as narcissism and agreeableness; however, self-enhancement of humility (i.e., overestimating one’s humility) was not related to other correlates of low humility. In Study 4 (N=123), I examined humility in the context of conflict and forgiveness. As predicated, humility judgments were related to changes in forgiveness over time, as well as viewing an offender as spiritually similar. I then discuss implications of these findings for the study of humility from a relational perspective.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010