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Does personality influence our health

Does personality influence our health

health. ‘Personality is the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with and adaptations to the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments (Larsen and Buss, 2004, p.4). In the following essay these aspects will be discussed further in detail focusing on physical, mental, and the social impact it has on a individuals health. This will be discussed in the following essay through previous research and theories.

There are many factors that can affect a person’s health outcome. The discovery of supporting research on the correlation between psychological and behavioural factors overcame another field of psychology known as ‘health psychology’. Behavioural factors in which a person adopts can affect their health conditions. Many activities in which one contributes in can physically effect ones health, an example of this is the lifestyle in which the individual chooses for example taking part in high risk activities such as drug use, drinking over the moderate amount, exercising frequently, sleeping up to seven to eight hours a night can all have affect on an individual’s health. Research has found that many of these high risk factors are correlated with life expectancy. (EVIDENCE)

Personality traits affect how we think, feel and the way in which we behave’ (Pervin et al, 2004) as cited in……… Personality traits are one of the key roles in which researchers are able to find out how different individuals deal with stressful situations. Different personality traits have been found to have different strategies in coping and dealing with stressful situations. ‘This therefore affects a person’s health outcome. Research has found that people who constantly lack organisation skills and lack self discipline have higher risk of death in comparison with those who are known to be ‘conscientious’ Weiss and Costa, 2005) as cited in Hogger Johnson and Pollard Whiteman 2008. This research is supporting the theory of ‘The big Five Model’ of personality traits, where conscientious individuals are seen to be self disciplined and plan their behaviours rather than being spontaneous. In previous research found that childhood conscientiousness evidently predicts longevity along with low conscientious children which tend to be at an increased risk of early mortality throughout their adult lives (Friedman et al., 1993) as cited in Friedman & Tucker et al, 1994. Evidence has also shown that children who have low ego strength are more likely to have the consumption of excessive alcohol, smoking and overeating and are also more likely to consume drugs (Block, Block, & Keyes, 1988) as cited in Friedman & Hacker et al, 1994.

The big five model consists of five different traits as follows, openness in which an individual’s is open to variety of experiences, conscientiousness in which a person aims for achievement and tend to plan rather than be spontaneous, extraversion in which an individual is full of energy and positive attitudes, agreeableness in which an individual is compassionate towards others and lastly neuroticism which describes an individual to be vulnerable and have the tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily. These personality traits have been found to have effects on individual’s health. Individuals who score high on neurotisim are found to have higher risk factor for death as they are seen to be emotionally instable. Stronger studies link neuroticism to many illnesses such as asthma (Huobinenet et al 2001) and immune system functioning (o’clerigh et al, 2007) as cited in ………. Another theory which was also based on personality traits is one that’s proposed by Eysenck on neuroticism.

Personality can have an impact on the way in which a person copes with stressful events. Different personality traits deal with stress in different ways. Research has been conducted and supported the theory of personality affecting one’s health. Findings established that personality influences the levels of exposure or reactivity in which one exposes to stressful situations (Bolger & Zuckerman, 1995) as cited in Bruce & Zautra. Research found a relationship between neuroticim and increased exposure and reactivity in a healthy individual.

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Personality can also have an impact on how a person copes with stress. ;

There are many ways that personality may affect health (Antonovsky,

1987; Friedman, 1990; Suls & Rittenhouse, 1990). One

of the key ways is by the role it may play in the stress process

(Cooper & Payne, 1991). Bolger and Zuckerman (1995) have

suggested that personality may influence the level of exposure or

reactivity to stressful events. Indeed, studies have consistently

found that neuroticism is related to increased exposure and reactivity

in healthy individuals, especially to stressors of an interpersonal

nature (Bolger & Schilling, 1991; Bolger & Zuckerman,

1995; Larson & Ketelaar, 1991).

The way in which one perceives an stressful event can be hugely influenced by their personality as research has suggested that personality can influence the level of exposure or reactivity to stressful events.

Physical well being

Many theories have examined individuals and their physical health and well being. Research has found that

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