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Health Psychology Personality and Health Chapter 5 PY 470 Hudiburg Personality Trait Theories Eysenck’s trait theory introversion-extraversion unsociable, introspective; sociable, adventurous neuroticism-stability moodiness, anxiety, low willpower; stability psychoticism-nonpsychoticism

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health psychology

Health Psychology

Personality and Health

Chapter 5

PY 470 Hudiburg

personality trait theories
Personality Trait Theories
  • Eysenck’s trait theory
    • introversion-extraversion
      • unsociable, introspective; sociable, adventurous
    • neuroticism-stability
      • moodiness, anxiety, low willpower; stability
    • psychoticism-nonpsychoticism
      • aggression, lack of concern for others; empathy
personality trait theories3
Personality Trait Theories
  • Big 5 theory – Costa & McCrea - OCEAN
    • Openness to experience-nonopenness
      • imaginative-unimaginative; independent-conforming; curious-incurious
    • Conscientiousness-undirectedness
      • careful-careless; ambitious-aimless; reliable-undependable
    • Extroversion-introversion
      • sociable-reserved; talkative-quiet; spontaneous-self-controlled
    • Agreeableness-antagonism
      • courteous-rude; selfless-selfish; trusting-suspicious
    • Neuroticism-stability
      • worrying-calm; impatient-patient; self-pitying-self-satisfied
the big 5 theory
The Big 5 Theory
  • Big 5 theory self-report questionnaires
  • NEO-PI-R – measures five personality domains and 6 facets with the domains – Costa & McCrea (1999)
  • BFI – Big Five Inventory – developed as a research instrument at UC Berkeley by John et al. Various versions available try this website:

http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/

  • Cattell’s 16 PF – Sixteen Personality Factors
  • Ten item personality test:

http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Gosling/tipi20site/tipi.htm

traits and behaviors
Traits and behaviors
  • relation to actual behavior
    • extroverts
      • less disturbed by loud sounds
      • choose to live with and work with more people
      • prefer a wider range of sexual activities
      • more likely to look people in the eye
    • high in conscientiousness
      • more sexually faithful to their spouses
      • higher ratings for job performance
      • smoke less, drink less, and live longer
    • high in openness to experience
      • change careers more often
      • perform better in job training programs
biological bases of traits
Biological Bases of Traits
  • physiological theory of extrovert-introvert
    • Eysenck: brains of extroverts less easily aroused
    • introverts: react more strongly to intense stimuli
      • worse task performance when loud noise is present
      • greater physiological arousal to a sudden noise
      • salivate more to squirts of lemon juice
      • less tolerant of painful electric shocks
    • introverts frontal lobes more active in the absence of external stimulation
  • Nature – nuture
  • heritability of traits: h2 = .40-.50 for most traits (Big 5)
  • effect of family environment
    • almost negligible on measures of personality
      • twins RA just as similar (or different) as twins RT
    • family environment is experienced differently for each child
      • adoptive siblings were no more similar in personality than two people chosen at random (Scarr et al., 1981)
what personality factors lead to good health
What Personality Factors Lead to Good Health?
  • Optimism – expectation of good things will happen and bad things will not happen, contrasted to pessimism – Positive Psychology – Box 5.1, p. 148 – Optimism scale – Table 5.1, p. 148
  • A sense of hope – Box 5.2, p. 149
  • Related to psychological well-being, physical well-being
    • experience lower levels of depression
    • experience fewer infectious diseases
    • live longer – Box 5.3, p. 151 – Hall of Fame Baseball players
    • External causes, unstable, specific- optimistic
    • Internal causes, stable, global – pessimistic
    • Study – F 5.1, p. 150 – College students with negative explanatory style measured in the first year had higher levels of depression in third year as compared to positive explanatory style students. Alloy et al., 1999
    • Study – F 5.2, p. 152 – 2800 mid-aged males studied, those H in hopelessness were 2X as likely to die of cancer or 4X as likely to die of CHD than those L in hopelessness. Everson et al., 1996
what personality factors lead to good health cont
What Personality Factors Lead to Good Health (cont.)?
  • Extraversion – outgoing, social and assertive
    • seek more stimulation – high sensation seeking – Photo 5.2, p. 153
    • experience more positive moods
    • experience lower rates of major and minor illnesses
      • asthma, arthritis, ulcers, coronary heart disease
  • Introversion – cautious, serious, and low key
  • Measure – E/I scale Table 5.2, p. 153 or use BFI or NEO-PI-R measures
what personality factors lead to good health cont9
What Personality Factors Lead to Good Health (cont.)?
  • Conscientiousness – hardworking, motivated, persistent, H in self-reliance
    • little research, Friedman et al. (1993) – 1000 children initially tested in 1922 and followup in 1986, only conscientiousness was associated with better health top 25% in C – 77% risk of dying in a given year tha bottom 25% in C, live about two years longer
  • Internal Locus of Control/ Hardiness
    • less depression in response to major illnesses
    • allows one to remain healthy when experiencing many stressful life events
what personality factors lead to good health cont10
What Personality Factors Lead to Good Health (cont.)?
  • Internal Locus of Control
    • Locus of control
      • internal - control of events lies within us
      • external - situations/others control what happens
    • Assessing LOC
      • I-E Scale by Rotter
    • high ILC believe have influence on behaviors & decision to influence outcomes, a sense of control
    • less depression in response to major illnesses
    • allows one to remain healthy when experiencing many stressful life events
what personality factors lead to good health cont11
What Personality Factors Lead to Good Health (cont.)?
  • Hardiness - Table 5.3, p. 155
    • A personality style that Kobasa says explains why some people get sick under stress.
    • Characteristics
      • control - belief that one can influence events
      • commitment - sense of purpose or involvement
      • challenge - viewing changes as opportunities for growth
  • Hardiness, Coherence, and Resilience
    • Conceptually similar terms
      • sense of coherence ‑ when the world is seen as comprehensible, manageable, meaningful
      • resiliency ‑ having high levels of self-esteem, personal control, and optimism
        • studied in children living in adverse situations.
what personality factors lead to good health cont12
What Personality Factors Lead to Good Health (cont.)?
  • Hardiness and health
    • Retrospective and prospective studies found hardy people have fewer illnesses and deal with stress more effectively. F 5.3, p. 156 – Kobaser et al. (1982) – H hardiness in H stress situations, L illnesses, L in hardiness in H stress situations, H illnesses
    • Perception of control is important
    • Status as research/theoretical concept uncertain
      • may actually be measuring negative affect, not hardiness.
  • Hardiness in Old Age
    • Stamina
      • studied in older people
      • a triumphant, positive outlook during adversity
    • Past health, education and activity level are related to stamina
what personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior
What personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior?
  • Neuroticism/ Negative Affect – tendency to often experience negative emotions: distress, anxiety, nervousness, fear, shame, anger, and guilt
    • describe themselves as having a greater number of physical symptoms
      • frequency of illness, cardiovascular problems, digestive problems, fatigue – Costa & McCrea (1987)
    • describe themselves as having more severe and uncomfortable symptoms
what personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior14
What personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior?
  • Type A behavior pattern characteristics- based on Friedman & Rosenman (1974) study of 3000+ men over 8 years, 256 developed CHD, 69% were type A, 31% were type B
    • 3 features: competitive achievement orientation, time urgency, anger /hostility
  • Type B – easy going, laid back, and relaxed
  • Measuring Type A and Type B Behavior Patterns
    • Structured Interview
      • face-to-face interview conducted by trained interviewer
      • yields information historical behavioral responses as well as reactions during interview
    • Jenkins Activity Survey
      • 52-item self-report measure that asks about usual responses to stressful situations
    • Framingham Type A Scale – Table 5.4, p. 159
      • ten item scale with versions for different populations.
    • Matthews Youth Test for Health
      • a rating scale for use with children.
what personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior cont
What personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior (cont.)?
  • Behavior Patterns and Stress
    • Type A's respond more quickly, rapidly to stressors, seeing them as threats.
    • Type A people tend to seek out demanding situations which leads to stress.
    • Type A's demonstrate greater physiological reactivity to stress , especially males.
    • Suggested that Type A behavior may be due to physiological factors.
  • Type A Behavior and Health
    • Relationship between Type A and general illnesses is weak.
    • Most studies indicate a link with coronary heart disease. – F 5.4, p. 160 Miller et al. (1991)
    • Physiological explanations for relationship
      • reactivity levels produce wear & tear on heart
      • chronically high levels of stress hormones injures heart
      • high blood pressure strains heart – Rosenman & Friedman (1961) female type A – 35% hypertension, type B – 4% hypertension
    • Behavioral explanations for relationship
      • drink more alcohol
      • smoking patterns are different (inhalation)
      • pushing themselves physically beyond appropriate stopping point.
what personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior cont16
What personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior (cont.)?
  • Type A benefits? Box 5.5, p. 161
    • College student type A: achieve more, higher honors, higher GPA, push themselves more, more credit hours, more volunteerism
  • Ragland & Brand (1988) found Type A 19.2% mortality rate from CHD, while Type B 31.7% - a difference in measures: self-report v. interview (more accurate to classify Type A)
  • Type C – proposed by Temoshok (1987) –
    • Suppression of emotion, learned helplessness, low emotional expression- reported much higher rates of certain types of cancer than type A or type B – thus “cancer prone” personality
    • Little research support for type C – most recent study published in 2005 in the online journal Cancer based on 30,000 Swedish twins did not support increase risk, as well as for neuroticism or extroversion.
what personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior cont17
What personality factors lead to unhealthy behavior (cont.)?
  • Hostility/ Disagreeableness (low A on Big Five)
    • predictor of CHD and mortality, especially when it is expressed outward and involves cynicism. – Matthews et al. (1998) prospective study 200 females over 10 years, H initial hostility score -> more likely symptoms of CHD 10 years later
    • F 5.5, p. 165 – older males – coronary artery blockage – 8% L hostility, 18% H hostility – Niaura et al., 2002
    • higher rates of hypertension
    • Table 5.5, p. 164
  • Physiological evidence accounts for CHD link with hostility
    • hostile people have higher resting blood pressure, poorer heart pumping efficiency, and higher heart rate
  • Hostile expression probably undermines social support networks.
  • shorter lives
what factors lead to the personality health link cont
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • 1. Personalities may influence how much stress one experiences
    • people high in negative affect and neuroticism perceive events as more stressful
    • people high in hostility experience more frequent and severe daily hassles and major life events, and report more conflict
    • people with Type A behaviors appraise challenging situations as more stressful, perceive opponents as begin more aggressive and hard driving than type B
    • people High in hardiness, optimism, and extroversion perceive stressful events as less threatening
what factors lead to the personality health link cont20
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • 2. Personality may influence the use of different coping strategies
    • Optimist demonstrate faster recovery from heart bypass surgery - Box 5-7, p. 168 - Scheier et al. (1989) 51 males at 6 weeks and 6 months post surgery
    • people high in optimism, hope, hardiness, extraversion, and internal locus of control use more adaptive and functional coping strategies – F 5.7, p.169
    • people high in neuroticism and who have an external locus of control tend to rely on maladaptive coping strategies
what factors lead to the personality health link cont21
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • 3. Personality may influence how much social support a person has
    • people who are hostile, neurotic, and pessimistic have trouble forming close relationships and often experience high levels of interpersonal conflict
    • people High in negative affect and those with Type A behaviors have lower martial satisfaction
what factors lead to the personality health link cont22
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • 4. Personality factors may influence individuals’ health habits
    • people high in neuroticism, hostility and Type A behaviors are more likely to:
      • smoke and abuse alcohol
      • eat less healthy foods
      • avoid exercise
      • sleep less
      • use more caffeine
      • more traffic risk taking behaviors
what factors lead to the personality health link cont23
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • People with pessimistic explanatory styles have higher rates of death from accidents and violence – Peterson et al. (1998)
  • People with optimistic explanatory styles have reduced risk of health problems after a major life event (Kivimaki, et al., 2005)
  • Hostility and smoking and alcohol consumption F 5.8, p. 171 – Iribarren et al. (2000)
  • People high in conscientiousness more likely to engage in health-promoting behaviors:
    • taking vitamins
    • regular exercise
    • safe driving
    • healthy eating
what factors lead to the personality health link cont24
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • People high in conscientiousness follow treatment recommendations even though difficult. Low conscientiousness abandon treatment – F 5.9, p. 173 – Schwartz et al., 1999
  • People with internal locus of control are more likely to follow recommended diets and rehabilitation
  • Optimists are more likely to successfully complete alcohol rehabs
  • Type A ignore early signs of heart attacks
  • Type A often fail to adhere to medical regimens
what factors lead to the personality health link cont25
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • 5. Personality factors may influence people’s physiological reactions to stress including their immune functioning and cardiovascular response
    • people who have pessimistic explanatory style or who are low in perceived control have weaker immune responses – poorer DNA repair
    • hostile people have higher heart rates and blood pressure than L hostile – extreme cardiac response to stress – Box 5.8, p. 174, F 5.10, p. 175 Raikkonen et al., 1999
    • H hostiles mistrust others and are on guard – higher physiological arousal and more ware and tear on heart
what factors lead to the personality health link cont26
What factors lead to the personality - health link (cont.)?
  • 6. Could be a function of self-report
    • people high in negative affect complain more about various health problems, but there is no evidence that they actually experience more health problems
    • people high in negative affect may interpret relatively minor and normal symptoms as more painful and problematic
    • Research has included physiological measures as well as self-report but little relationship between personality measures and physiological measures
    • Personality may have more influence on coping strategies which has an influence on the stress response – secondary appraisal processes
lingering issues
Lingering Issues
  • Can health promotion interventions lead to personality change, which in turn leads to better health?
    • reducing Type A behaviors leads to better health
    • receiving hardiness training led to more job satisfaction and social support, and fewer illnesses and physical symptoms
lingering issues cont
Lingering Issues (cont.)
  • Is there a downside to optimism?
    • unrealistically positive beliefs can lead people to fail to protect themselves from problems such as:
      • car accidents
      • alcohol and drug addictions
      • sexually transmitted diseases