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Stress-Prone and Stress-Resistant Personalities. Chapter 6.

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Stress prone and stress resistant personalities

Stress-Prone and Stress-Resistant Personalities

Chapter 6

When I was 25, I got testicular cancer and nearly died. I don’t know why I am still alive. I can only guess. I have a tough constitution and my profession taught me how to compete against long odds and big obstacles.”

—Lance Armstrong


  • Personality is thought to be comprised of several:

    • traits

    • characteristics

    • behaviors

    • expressions

    • moods

    • feelings as perceived by others


  • The complexity of one’s personality is thought to be shaped by:

    • genetic factors

    • family dynamics

    • social influences

    • personal experiences

Personality and stress
Personality and Stress

  • How we deal with stress is due in large part to our personalities, yet regardless of personality, we each exhibit many inner resources to use in the face of stress.

  • New behaviors can be learned and adopted to aid in this coping process.

  • We do not have to be passive victims to stress.

Stress prone personalities
Stress-Prone Personalities

These personalities do not cope with stress well:

  • Type A personality

  • Codependent personality

  • Helpless-Hopeless personality

Type a behavior
Type A Behavior

  • Time urgency

  • Polyphasia (multitasking)

  • Ultra-competitiveness

  • Rapid speech patterns

  • Manipulative control

  • Hyperaggressiveness and free-floating hostility

Codependent personality
Codependent Personality

  • Ardent approval seekers

  • Perfectionists

  • Super-overachievers

  • Crisis managers

  • Devoted loyalists

  • Self-sacrificing martyrs

  • Manipulators

  • “Victims”

  • Feelings of inadequacy

  • Reactionaries

Helpless hopeless personality
Helpless-Hopeless Personality

  • Poor self-motivation

  • Cognitive distortion where perception of failure repeatedly eclipses prospects of success

  • Emotional dysfunction

  • External locus of control of reinforcing behavior

Stress resistant personalities
Stress Resistant Personalities

These personalities cope with stress well:

  • Hardy Personality

  • Survivor Personality

  • Type R Personality

The hardy personality
The Hardy Personality

  • (Based on the work of Maddi and Kobasa)

  • Three characteristics noted in those who cope well with stress:

    • Commitment (invests oneself in the solution)

    • Control (takes control of a situation, doesn’t run from it)

    • Challenge (sees opportunity rather than the problems)

Survivor personality traits
Survivor Personality Traits

  • A person who responds rather than reacts to danger/stress

  • Bi-phase traits (left and right brain skills)

    • Proud but humble

    • Selfish but altruistic

    • Rebellious but cooperative

    • Spiritual but irreverent

    • Considered optimists and good at creative problem solving

Type r personality sensation seekers
Type “R” personality (sensation seekers)

  • Zuckerman (1971) identified the sensation-seeking personality, as those people who seek thrills and sensations but take calculated risks in their endeavors; they appear to be dominated by an adventurous spirit.

Self esteem the bottom line defense
Self-Esteem:The Bottom-Line Defense

  • Practices of high self-esteem:

    • Focus on action

    • Living consciously

    • Self-acceptance

    • Self-responsibility

    • Self-assertiveness

    • Living purposefully

Characteristics of high self esteem
Characteristics of High Self-Esteem

  • Connectedness (support groups)

  • Uniqueness (special qualities)

  • Empowerment (uses inner resources)

  • Role Models or Mentors (has others to look up to)

  • Calculated Risk Taking (not motivated by fear)