Theories of Personality (PSY 225-A01)/Chapter 12

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Disease-Prone Personalities[edit | edit source]

Certain traits are related to poor outcomes

  • Indirect links to health - It's not the trait itself that causes direct outcomes, its the trait that increases the likelihood of bad outcomes [increasing cortisol] that causes the indirect, negative outcome.
  • Biological predespositions impact personality (bio perspective). Do directly put us into risks of certain diseases.
  • Ex: extroversion --> parties --> drink alcohol --> alcohol poisoning

Sick Role[edit | edit source]

...describes our expected ways when we are sick. We may act or feel more tired than usual and/or call in sick. Some people are more sensitive to their bodily fluids and exacerbate the "sick sensations" [and may interpret them as a "catastrophic" thing] or may reinforce this sick role (children).

Increased acceptance of seeking a therapist.

Disease-caused personality changes[edit | edit source]

- psychosomatic disorder: " psychological condition involving the occurrence of physical symptoms, usually lacking a medical explanation. People with this condition may have excessive thoughts, feelings or concerns about the symptoms — which affects their ability to function well."[1]

A disease that causes a personality change (brain injury? depression? COPD? Alzheimers?). Disease is responsible for personality change, then psychological intervention won't be useful. While we def. want to note the role of disease in a personality change, it may not be completely useless. Some of the depression could be alleviated or may help them deal with their depression.

Diathesis-stress model[edit | edit source]

...another way at looking at how risk factors combine to lead to a poor outcome.

  • stressful live events --> bipolar genetics --> exhibit bipolar disorder symptoms

Personality disorders[edit | edit source]

  • Traits associated with pers. disorders may be associated with traits to health. Association with borderline PD --> childhood abuse?
  • Many of the disorders don't have clear links, can't randomly assign people to child abuse to test this. Other difficult factors can be played in addition to the childhood abuse.
  • Tend to be stable over time, often resistant to treatment

Personality, Coronary-Proneness, and other Diseases[edit | edit source]

Type A personalities[edit | edit source]

Proposed by cardiologists who found their patients possessing traits that were related to Coronary's disease (hostility, competitiveness, time-urgency, etc.). More research has found that hostility and excessive control do have a significant link to Coronary's disease. Individuals who excersise negative personality traits are likely to engage in other poor health habits (increase cortisol).

Type D was described as a cluster of negative risky traits including hostility and excessive control, which actually seemed to be responsible for the Coronary's risk. Competitiveness can be linked to good outcomes when not attached with excessive control.

Giving Up[edit | edit source]

  • Studying the relation between people's responses to uncontrollabel situation an their later health outcomes, looking into learned helplessness. Individual's differences and explanatory style (optimism: using external, specific and unstable attributions to an uncontrollable situation; and pessimism: internal global, stable explanations) play a role in said situation. Pessimism is related to poor health outcome and earlier death.

Other diseases[edit | edit source]

  • A meta analysis found a linkage between certain personality traits (anger, example) and various diseases.

The Human Termites[edit | edit source]

Subject of Louis Termin's study: 90% retention rate (10% of subjects dropped out), all individuals had an IQ of 135, nominated by teachers (not really random sample). Outcomes found in the Termin sample, some which are supported:

  • Consciousness - related to better health outcomes (likely to go to the gym and eat right); maybe some physiological predesposition to health.
  • Sociability - found to be unrelated to health or longevity. May increase likelihood of risky behavior (clubs, for example). Those who became scientists were less social as children, but ended up living longer.
  • Cheerfulness - Individuals who were more cheerful had lesser longevity. This isn't consistent throughout other scientific literature.
  • Stress - Termin's sample found that stress could lead to unhealthy behaviors (parents' divorce, ex.). Also found decreased longevity. Different stressful events have different stress levels.
  • Mental health - 3 cats: satisfactory adjustment, some maladjustment, severe maladjustment. Age of 40yrs, serious maladjustments was related to higher risk of mortality. Mental stability does correlate to longevity.

Blaming the Victim[edit | edit source]

Blame individuals for their play in a negative outcome. If I can look to someone else and see their reason for their poor health, it will make us feel safer.

Protection[edit | edit source]

  • I'm able to see why you have breast cancer! Stop smoking!

Predictability[edit | edit source]

  • Healthy choices = better outcome

A balance is needed.

Self-Healing Personality[edit | edit source]

  • "Why does a person stay healthy?", not "Why does a person get sick?"
  • Control, Commitment, Challenge = Healthy sense of control (I control what I can control), commit to what I can act on, and view difficult times/stress as exciting challenges. Meaning behind what they are doing (fulfillment), felt a sense of commitment to something meaningful!
  • Trust and devotion - trust others and devote themselves to others = increased happiness and health.

Humanistic and Existential Aspects of Self-Healing[edit | edit source]

Growth orientation[edit | edit source]

  • Broaden-and-build - Positive emotions broaden our thinking in a particular situation, this in turns, builds our social resources. In a particular mood, we are more likely to recall memories in that mood. Our positivity can be related to contagious emotions.

Identity, morality and purpose[edit | edit source]

  • Having a sense of meaning in life = increases likelihood of engaging in life and getting better mental health. People in dire situations are at risk for poor outcomes, but those who thrive in these situations are the ones that seem to have a sense of coherence (religious beliefs, ex.).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Psychosomatic Disorder: What Is It, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment". Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 2023-04-11.