PERSONALITY AND ITS
RELATION TO HEALTH
• Components/determinants of personality
• Theories on personality
• Personality related to illness
• Personality and oral health
• Personality and stress
Personality is the sum total of who you are - your attitudes and
reactions, both physical and emotional. It's what makes each person
different from every other person in the world. How can any study of
human behaviour not include the study of who we are and how we got
to be that way???
• Personality is derived from the Greek word ―Persona‖
• Behaviour is shaped by social roles as well as by
personality and its differences. Personality is regarded as
a dynamic concept of describing the growth and
development of a person’s whole psychological system
determines behaviour in a defined situation and a defined
mood. The assumption here is that the behaviour of the
individual will depend not only on the situation in which he finds
himself but also on his emotional state at that time.
• Gorctn Allport, a pioneer in personality research has
defined personality as a dynamic organization within the
individual, of psycho-logical systems that determine his
unique adjustments to his environment.
• According to Mischel (1976) personality consists of
distinctive patterns of behaviour that characterize each
individual's adaptation to his life.
• Character and temperament.
• Character is a word that tends to be used in
a morally judgemental way; the individual is
evaluated in terms of cultural norms against
which he is seen 'good' or 'bad'.
responsiveness of a person, such as hot
tempered-placid, fearful-un worried.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PERSONALITY
• Personality is what one is.
• Personality of each individuals is unique and specific.
• It is not static but dynamic in nature.
• It is the product of heredity and environment
• Hippocrates - four humours
• Galen- explanation was further
refined during the second century CE.
The 'four humours'
that Greek doctors
used as a basis for
• A person's personality was based on the balance of bodily humours;
yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood.
• Excess of yellow bile - Choleric people - making them irascible.
• High levels of black bile - melancholy and pessimism.
• Phlegmatic people were thought to have an excess of phlegm, leading to
their sluggish, calm temperament.
• Finally, people thought to have high levels of blood were said to be
sanguine and were characterized by their cheerful, passionate dispositions
• In contrast the Medieval European's sense of self was linked
to a network of social roles: the household, the kinship
network, the guild, the corporation - these were the
building blocks of personhood observed by Stephen
• The modern sense of individual personality is a result of the
shifts in culture originating in the Renaissance, an essential
element in modernity
COMPONENTS OF PERSONALITY
• Determinants that shape personality are viewed from different
• Major distinction is drawn between biological influences, most
likely to be genetically determined and environmental
influences determined by family, school, peer group and culture.
GENETIC COMPONENTS - Heredity
• Heredity in the formation of adult personality - studied by twin
studies and statistical methods.
• Eysenck studied personality dimensions in identical twins and
non-identical twins and found that the score on the dimensions
of extra-version and neuroticism showed no significant
correlation between the non-identical twins but were closely
related for the identical twins.
• Kretschmer – personality types based on physique.
• The two types being schizothymic and cyclothymia
personalities - two types were correlated to major psychiatric
- schizophrenia and manic-depressive
• The schizo-thymic is shy, inward looking with long and.
narrow body build - Jung's introvert personality.
• This cyclothymic is sociable, outward looking, but liable to
swings of mood have muscular or fat body build - Jung's
• Sheldon identified three types of physique from a large
number of photographs of male college students - three
personality types associated with functions of the body organ
and systems developed from the embryonic layers.
characterized by a love of comfort and of food)
• The mesomorphic, (muscular build individuals with a
somatotonic personality, are vigorous, active and assertive)
inhibition, restraint and little social contact
• School and peer group ,
- McClelland - differences between ratings of
achievement imagery in TAT scores of school boys in Japan,
Germany, Brazil and India – differences - found in cognitive style and
different child rearing practices.
THEORIES OF PERSONALITY
• The theories of personality try to describe the basic
structure and underlying entities or constructs involved in
personality in one way or the other, along with the
processes by which these entities interact.
• Two different approaches to study the concept are the
ideographic and the nomothetic
TYPE OF THEORY
Biological (or Trait)
of the individual
Raymond B. Cattell/Factor
Human behaviour is traced
to the joint effects of the
capabilities and past
theory of adjustment
Carl G . Jung /Analytical
Human behaviour is
determined by a person’s
experiences, which color his
/her perceptions of current
Social / Learning theory
John Dollard and Neal
E.Miller / Reinforcement
Human behaviour results
from an organism’s past
perceptions, and higher
level processes of thinking
Person – centered
Human behaviour can be
understood only in terms of the
person’s internal perceptions of
self and others leading toward
• Personality is viewed in terms of various traits.
• Trait – relatively permanent and relatively consistent
general behaviour patterns that an individual exhibits in
• These patterns are said to be the basic units of one’s
personality that can be discovered through observing one’s
behaviour in a variety of situations.
• William Sheldon (1899 - 1977) - identified three different general forms of
human physique, or somatotypes - 7-point scale as to the amount of each
form represented in our body.
• In addition, Sheldon also suggested that there is a close relation between
measures of our physique taken from somatotype photographs and our
personal temperament (measured by observer ratings). This is, in fact, the
single, essential assumption of Sheldon's theory -- that a continuity, or a high
correlation, exists between physique and behaviour.
Gordon Allport's trait theory
- psychologist Gordon Allport found - English-language
dictionary alone contained more than 4,000 words describing different
personality traits. He categorized these traits into three :
cardinal, central and secondary traits
• Cardinal Traits: Traits that dominate an individual’s whole life, often to
the point that the person becomes known specifically for these traits.
E.g. : Consider the origin and meaning of the following descriptive terms:
Freudian, Machiavellian, narcissism, Don Juan, Christ-like, etc.
• Allport also suggested that cardinal traits are rare and tend to develop
later in life.
• Central Traits: These are the general characteristics that form the basic
foundations of personality. These central traits, while not as dominating as
cardinal traits, are the major characteristics you might use to describe another
• Terms such as intelligent, honest, shy and anxious are considered central traits.
Secondary Traits: These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes
or preferences and often appear only in certain situations or under specific
• E.g. : would be getting anxious when speaking to a group or impatient while
waiting in line.
Raymond Cattell’s Sixteen
• Raymond B. Cattell – reduced the number of main personality
traits from Allport’s initial list of over 4,000 down to 171,mostly by
characteristics ---- Cattell rated a large sample of individuals for
these 171 different traits ---- Factor analysis early 1960s ----.
identified major personality factors both within individuals and
across people in general ---- Identified 16 factors – considered as
source of human personality --- Introduced 16 personality factor
Eysenck’s Three Dimensions of
• British psychologist
- Hans Eysenck
- model of
personality based upon just three universal trails.
• Major complaint Catell’s factors were overlapping.
• Three major personality types or dimensions which have
neuroticism and psychoticism
Introversion involves directing attention on inner experiences, while
extraversion relates to focusing attention outward on other people and the
environment. So, a person high in introversion might be quiet and reserved,
while an individual high in extraversion might be sociable and outgoing.
This dimension of Eysenck’s trait theory is related to moodiness versus
even-temperedness. Neuroticism refers to an individual’s tendency to
become upset or emotional, while stability refers to the tendency to remain
Later, after studying individuals suffering from mental illness,
Eysenck added a personality dimension he called psychoticism
to his trait theory. Individuals who are high on this trait tend to
have difficulty dealing with reality and may be antisocial, hostile,
non-empathetic and manipulative
• Structure Mind
• View of personality
• Psychosexual Stages
• Structure of the mind has 3 levels of awareness
: contents of current awareness
: All memories, urges, conflicts beyond
• Governed by inborn instinctual drives, especially those related
to sex and aggression
• Obeys the pleasure principle
• Motivates people to act in an ideal fashion, according to moral
customs of parents and culture
• Obeys the idealistic principle
• Induces people to act with reason and deliberation, and to
conform to the requirements of the outside world
• Obeys the reality principle
Criticisms of psychodynamic Formulation
• Poor Testability
• Inadequate evidence
• Sexism – stressed Infantile sexuality too much
• Did not give enough emphasis to social and cultural
• Humanistic psychologists speak of growth and potential
• Gestalt : people are more than a sum of predictable parts
………………. ―each person is unique and individual whole‖……………………
• CARL ROGERS
Carl Rogers Theory
• The Self
• An organized, consistent set of perceptions of and beliefs about
• Mental picture of yourself
• Once our self-concept is established, we have a need to
• Because we have a need to maintain our self concept. We
have two kinds of needs:
An absence of conflict among self perceptions
• Any experience inconsistent with our self concept evokes
Criticisms of Humanistic Approach
• Adopts too positive a view of human nature
• Concepts are vague
Difficult to test scientifically
• Inadequate evidence
• Rely too much on reports of personal experience
Take what people say at face value
SOCIAL LEARNING THEORIES
• They see personality deve-lopment as being a set of learned
• Bandura – Social learning theory
• Bandura believed personality largely shaped through learning.
• Contends conditioning is not a mechanical process in which
people are passive participants
The big Five: bipolar, one of the ends of the dimension describes the 'high'
pole and the opposite end describes the 'low' pole.
- Openness to experience: creative intellectual arid open minded vs. simple,
shallow and unintelligent.
: organized responsible and cautious vs. careless
: talkative, energetic and. assertive vs. quite received
: sympathetic, kind and affectionate vs. cold,
quarrelsome and cruel.
: emotionally stable, calm and contented vs. anxious,
unstable and temperamental.
PERSONALITY RELATED TO ILLNESS
• Based on observations of clinical groups, correlations between
particular diseases and personality types were reported, and
striking psychological similarities among patients suffering from
the same organic disease were described.
• These similarities were formulated and linked to specific
disorders such as coronary heart disease (CHD), peptic
ulcer, and asthma.
• Recent studies suggest that epidemiological evidence for a link
between Type A and CHD is no longer unequivocal.
• A number of studies have quantified the degree of coronary artery
disease present in patient, undergoing coronary angiography and have
correlated disease seve-rity with measures of Type A behaviour.
• Patients with Type A personality were likely to have severe coronary
artery disease in comparison to Type B patients.
• However, subsequent studies found that Type A was not associated
with extensive coronary artery disease.
PERSONALITY AND ORAL HEALTH
Research has shown at least three processes to be involved.
First, particular personality traits may predispose to poor oral health;
an example of this might be a predisposition to bruxism (and
individuals who score more highly on the trait of aggressiveness.
Second, personality traits may predispose to poor oral health
because they are associated with health-damaging behaviours; for
example, individuals who are low on constraint might be more likely
to smoke and be, in turn, more likely to suffer periodontitis.
Third, personality characteristics may shape the way in which
individuals react to (interpret) symptoms and thus construct their
Of the three possible mechanisms described above, the first and
second are germane to the issue of the influence of personality on
clinical disease status, and the third has the greatest immediate
relevance to the issue of the influence of personality differences
on oral health measurements using self-report global items and
Oral-health related quality of life scales.
PERSONALITY AND STRESS
Certain personality types are prone to specific illnesses. People
conscious, inhibited, shy and nervous, sensitive, get easily
worked up, are more prone to get physical diseases if exposed to
prolonged and severe stress .
Type A personality has often been associated with stress and
illness. These people are intensely ambitious, competitive and
impatient. They are always pre-occupied with deadlines and want
to achieve things in the shortest time possible. Type A person
expends enormous energy in pursuit of his goals. Migraine and
tension headaches are also associated with this personality type
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• Thomson WM, Caspi A, Poulton R, Moffitt TE, Broadbent JM. Personality and
oral health. European Journal of Oral Sciences, 2011; 119: 366–372.
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and health - So what? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73,
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