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Research that has suggested a link between Stress and Personality.

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Introduction

´╗┐Research that has suggested a link between Stress and Personality. Firstly we ask, what is personality? And we get various definitions, Hollander (1971) defined it as ?A sum total of an individual?s characteristics that make him unique.? Eysenck (1969) defined it as ?The more or less stable and enduring organisation of a person?s character, temperament, intellect and physique that determines their unique adjustment to the world.? All Individuals are unique and differ significantly in their response to a problem or stressor. Some people are born with a character that influences them to higher or lower levels of tolerance towards stress. Your thought reaction to a situation plays a role in determining how stressful a situation is to you. This reaction is characterised by your assessment of the nature, importance and consequences of the event and by your ability to effectively manage or cope with the event. Your emotional responses to a situation are determined by your evaluation of both the situation and your coping abilities, as well as your temperament. For example, if you tell yourself, ?I can handle this,? you will have a completely different emotional response or outlook than if you say, ?This is terrible, I?m going crazy.? The term personality can ...read more.

Middle

In the past, research suggested that people who display the type A behaviour were at much greater risk of developing high blood pressure and coronary heart disease (CHD) compared with those displaying the type B behaviour. Recent research is increasingly pointing towards hostility as the best single predictor of coronary heart disease and Dembrowski & Costa (1987) argue that potential for hostility is a reasonably stable personality trait. According to Temoshok (1987) type C personalities are cancer-prone. Temoshok et la (1984) conducted a 15 year follow up study of women with breast cancer and determined that there was high probability of the disease returning in those women who had a passive or helpless coping approach. The type C personality has difficulty expressing emotion and tends to suppress or inhibit emotions, particularly negative ones such as anger. While there is no undisputed evidence that these personality characteristics can actually cause cancer, it does seem likely that they influence the progression of cancer and hence, the survival time of cancer patients (Weinman, 1995). Greer & Morris (1975) found that women diagnosed with breast cancer showed significantly more emotional suppression than those with benign breast disease especially among those under 50 and this had been a characteristic for most of their lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

Those who catastrophize events or ask ?what if? with an expectation of negative outcomes, without the data to determine whether their worries are true, add stress to their lives in situations that may or may not deserve a high level of emotional, cognitive or physiological responses. Looking at the positive links between stress and personality, study?s done provide various preliminary scientific evidence that illness such as heart disease may depend on individual differences within ones personality. Whilst the relationship between stress and coronary heart disease is not as straight forward as some of the research shows, it is important to note that stress itself cannot cause coronary heart disease or any illness by itself, there are other factors involved which along with prolonged periods of stress that weaken the body?s defences and ultimately led to illness such as coronary heart disease. Personality factors do play apart in how we perceive stress and deal with it but again research has been mixed as some researchers found a link between the two and others suggest other factors like daily hassles or workplace stressors are at play and previous research was weak or target specific and did not account for all personality types. ...read more.

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