Researchers have identified a healthy personality prototype in a recent study using a contemporary trait perspective.
What are the most psychologically healthy personality traits? Scholars have been interested in characterizing the healthy personality as long as they have been trying to understand how people differ from one another. Researchers from the University of California, Davis have identified a healthy personality prototype in a recent study using a contemporary trait perspective.
They found that the healthy personality can be described, with a high level of agreement, in terms of the 30 facets of the "big five" model of personality traits. This model organizes personality into five major factors: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Scientists have also identified facets for each of these factors that describe more specific kinds of behaviors. In this study, experts and laypeople agreed that a healthy personality consists of low neuroticism along with high levels of openness to feelings, warmth, positive emotions and agreeable straightforwardness.
The purpose of the research was to address the healthy personality question by generating an expert-consensus model of the healthy person, surveying hundreds of professional personality psychologists along with hundreds of college students from Texas and Michigan. They found a striking agreement among all of these groups in regards to what a healthy personality entails.
There is also a large body of research showing that the big five traits identified as neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness are stable, heritable, and predict life outcomes such as health, self-esteem, academic performance, marital quality, and work performance.
Using the big five as a framework and an expert-consensus approach, the researchers first attempted to generate a basic trait profile of a prototypical healthy individual. In a second step, they used data from seven independent samples of over 3,000 participants to test whether the generated healthy profile can be used to assess healthy personality functioning at the individual level. To do this, they computed a healthy personality index for each participant that indicated how similar their own individual personality profile matched the expert-generated profile for the healthy personality.
As predicted, individuals with healthy personality profiles tended to be better adjusted as indicated by higher self-esteem, self-concept clarity, and optimism. Individuals with healthy personality scores were also more likely to describe themselves as being able to resist impulses, regulate their behavior, and focus their attention. They also described themselves as being low in aggression and antisocial behavior.
The Healthy Personality from a Basic Trait Perspective (Preprint) https://psyarxiv.com/prdnf/
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