Wellbeing and Personality

personality influences
- vulnerability to physical and psychological illness - how we experience illness - how likely we are to seek support - recovery and outcome of illness
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what are personality disorders
distinct groups of psychological disorders and describes ways that our personality can impact our daily functioning and quality of life
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links between personality and health
1. direct link 2. correlational link 3. traits may influence our behaviours; influencing risks for certain illness 4. illness may result in personality changes
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The Big Five and Health - Smith and Williams (1992)
explanatory value of the FFM; useful framework
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Goodwin and Friedman (2006)
differing relations with psychological and physical illness for Big 5
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Treatment and therapy adherence (Bruce et al., 2010; Christensen and Smith, 1995; Stilley et al., 2004)
evidence that lower levels of conscientiousness linked to lower treatment adherence
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Risk and Resilience: Smith (2006) four features
1. role of anger and hostility (Smith, Glazer, Ruiz & Gallo, 2004) 2. social dominance (Houston et al., 1992) 3. neuroticism and negative affect 4. optimism
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Neuroticism and health : prospective studies
- reduced longevity; serious physical disease - time lagged effect of negative affect and neuroticism on physical health
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somatic symptom disorders
- physical complaints with no identifiable medical cause: . chronic pain; illness anxiety disorder (hypochondriasis); body dysmorphia . link between neuroticism and experience of somatic symptoms
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- optimists less susceptible to depression and anxiety, tend to live longer
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Schier & Carver (1987)
optimists report fewer physical symptoms than pessimists, recover better from major surgery and report fewer complications
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- need for prospective designs - concurrent for association could reflect psychological reaction to disease - quantifying disease and physical illness appropriately - associations are not explanations
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Illness vs Illness Behaviour: Williams (2011)
- explored type D and illness beliefs and behaviours - type D scale - brief illness perceptions questionnaire - 33% type D - different from non-type D on all illness perceptions dimensions - mechanism for poor recovery rates?
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role of stress
- ability to cope with stress is a potentially important mechanism - stress is a response to perceived demands - diathesis stress models of psychological disorders
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1. health behaviour models
personality can impact on engagement with health behaviours, and can also influence our appraisal and coping strategies when faced with stressful situations
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2. interactional stress model
personality moderates the physiological responses to stressors that can influence the subsequent likelihood of disease
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3. transactional stress model
personality influences exposure to stressful circumstances
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Locus of control: Rotter (1996)
extent to which individuals believe they can control events and their experiences
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internal locus
our behaviour can influence the outcome of a situation or scenario
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external locus
outcome is out of our control
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links with psychological and physical disorders
- depression and suicide - therapy and quality of life in illness
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degree of confidence in our ability to perform a particular task, in order to achieve a positive outcome
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Maciejewski et al (2000)
self-efficacy important mediator between stressful life events and depressive symptoms
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personality disorders
- enduring maladaptive patterns of behaviours and cognitions that deviate markedly from what is expected and accepted - extreme and severe disturbances affecting not only the individual but also their interpersonal relations
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DSm-5 criteria
pattern of behaviour and experiences that deviate from normal
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- enduring, inflexible, pervasive - stable over time - not a result of another psychological disorder or substance - clinically significant impairment or distress
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Prevalence and comorbidity
WHO: total prevalence rates around 6%
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A: 3.6%: odd/eccentric disorder B: 1.5%: dramatic, emotional or erratic C: 2.7%: anxious or fearful
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characteristics of the healthy self
1. identity: unique person with stable boundaries 2. self-direction: meaningful goals, appreciation of social norms and how to interact with others 3. positive interpersonal relationships: empathy, understand impact of behaviour on others.
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Saulsman & Page (2004)
- neuroticism related to all personality disorders - agreeableness - extraversion: histrionic/avoidant PD
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Cluster A
- paranoid personality disorder - schizoid personality disorder - shizotypal personality disorder
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Schizotypal personality disoder
- extreme discomfort with and reduced tendency for close relations - odd beliefs or magical thinking - unusual perceptual experiences - odd thinking/speech - ideas of reference - social anxiety
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- A's believed to be on same spectrum as SZ - first degree relatives of Sz more likely to show A PDs - prodromal phase of SZ - similar brain abnormalities
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Cluster B
- antisocial PD - borderline PD - histrionic PD - narcisstic PD
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Borderline PD
- intense/unstable relations - fear of abandonment - feelings of emptiness/worthlessness - implusiveness - paranoia/delusions - mood instability - self-harm, anxious, poor cope with stress
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- abuse - insecure attachment - impulsivity trait - reduced volume in emotional and decision-making area of brain - represent 20% inpatients and 10% outpatients
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Cluster C
- OCPD - avoidant personality disorder - dependent PD
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- overly concerned with details, organisation, rules - perfection interferes with completing tasks - extremely devoted to work, social life suffers - conscientious of issues of morals - difficult working with people - rigid, stubborn
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vs OCD
- insight - impact work, social, family life - interpersonal relationships - fixation with following procedures - treatment seeking behaviours
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causes of PD's
1. genetic and heritability influences - development and childhood experiences - biological influences
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Heritability of PD: Torgersen (2000) twin study
A - 37% B - 60% C - 63% All - 60% - borderline PD estimates around 40% - avoidance around 35%
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Environmental Factors: childhood
- antisocial, borderline and SZ linked to parenting behaviours: low levels of affection, lack of nurturing, neglect, emotional and sexual abuse, negative childhood experiences
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Miller & Lisak (1999)
childhood abuse history significantly associated with greater levels of symptomatology across all three clusters
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Treatment of PD's
- present differently: individual approach - difficulty maintaining relationship with therapist - rarely present for treatment - dialetical behaviour therapy
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Dialetical Behaviour Therapy (Linehan, 1993) - borderline PD
- pretreatmentstage - first stage: stabilising - second: processing traumatic events - third: developing sense of self
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what are personality disorders


distinct groups of psychological disorders and describes ways that our personality can impact our daily functioning and quality of life

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links between personality and health


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Card 4


The Big Five and Health - Smith and Williams (1992)


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Goodwin and Friedman (2006)


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