Significance Of Neuroticism In Relation To Health Outcomes

1698 words (7 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Psychology Reference this

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In the realms of personality traits, the fundamental categorization of the tendency to develop anxiety, tension, anger, frustration are commonly defined as neuroticism or negative affectivity (Smith & Mackenzie, 2006). An individual who scores highly in such area has a noticeable tendency to be emotionally unstable and tends to respond or perform poorly to environmental stress. This attributes to the reason that the individual is submerged with negative affectivity and deemed oneself to be inadequate to the given situation; even if the individual is capable of solving a particular given problem, (McCrae, 1990). Researchers have made use of this dimension of neuroticism as a correlation to predict probable adverse outcomes ranging from disorders like mental disorders (Griffith et al., 2010) to diseases such as AIDS (Cooper, Shapiro, & Powers, 1998; Trobst et.al, 2000) which are major health related issues. For example, Hudek-Knežević and Kardum (2009) conducted a research by using the Big Five personality traits such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism with the three higher-order health related personality factors such as passivity, negative experience and optimistic control to determine the prediction of subjective health outcomes. It was identified that neuroticism was most consistent in relating to adverse health outcomes (Hudek-Knežević & Kardum, 2009). This implies that neuroticism has capabilities of being a variable and a correlation factor which substantiate the necessity to understand the mechanism and functionality of neuroticism. Therefore, researchers will be able to understand, predict and minimize or even to prevent adverse health outcomes by developing appropriate methods.

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Researches show that neuroticism has significant influences on one’s perceptions and approaches to relieving stress (McCrae, 1990). This suggests that there is a possibility of a high neuroticism individual may have a tendency to seek risky health behavior as a form of relieving one’s stress. This exposes one’s health to be vulnerable to developing physical illnesses (Smith & Mackenzie, 2006). For instance, if risky health behaviors such as frequent smoking, consuming drugs and alcohol are seen as a form of coping strategy by a high neuroticism individual, one’s physical health is not only susceptible to diseases such as cancer in the lungs, damage to the liver, or coronary heart disease but also increases the risk of being prone to them. An example is neuroticism being a contributing factor to an individual’s undertaking in sexual risky behavior, can lead to AIDS. A research using functional perspective conducted by Cooper, Shapiro and Powers (1998) stated that the means of sexual behavior is to address various psychological needs by an individual. It has correlations with distinct characteristics of risky sexual actions, trends of neuroticism and interpersonal relationship (Cooper, Shapiro and Powers, 1998). This illustrates that an individual with neuroticism and low conscientiousness who undertakes risky sexual behavior exposes oneself to consequences of Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV) infections (Trobst et al., 2000). As a result, at a microscopic level; the individual who engages in multiple sexual partners increases his odds of contracting HIV that can give rise to various other complications and diseases. At a macroscopic level, it can be suggested that neuroticism can be a correlation factor to the spreading of HIV in a community or a contemporary society. Therefore, there is a necessary in understanding the mechanism and functionality of neuroticism and arresting its adverse effects. This factor plays an important role in keeping a society safe with good physical and mental health.

Every individual in a society will be exposed to a certain level of stress in one’s environment. Different personality traits in an individual will explain the different perception of levels of stress and different coping strategies. However, high neuroticism individuals will perceive similar circumstances to be much more stressful than the low neuroticism individual, (McCrae, 1990). Thus, both individuals will adopt different coping strategies. For example, a research for understanding relapsed smokers through associating with disengagement (such as withdrawing from one’s situation) and engagement coping strategies (such as initiating one’s approach towards the involved) was conducted by Friedman-Wheeler, Haaga, Gunthert, Ahrens and Mcintosh (2007). They used a correlation between depressive symptoms and neuroticism to determine which coping strategy a smoker would choose through a set of questionnaire. Friedman-Wheeler et al., (2007) have identified that depressive symptom smokers have a higher tendency to select disengagement strategy as a form of coping stress than a less neuroticism smoker. In addition, the relation with neuroticism was more comparatively concrete with regards to depressive symptoms. Examining neuroticism on its own and having depression removed, neuroticism is still clearly associated with the use of disengagement strategies (Friedman-Wheeler et al., 2007). These results illustrates that neuroticism can be an independent variable in relation to disengagement strategy and serves as a factor for managing depressed or high neuroticism smokers. In addition, Friedman-Wheeler et al., (2007) findings had highlighted that with current physiological methods; it may not be suitable for depressed smokers and suggested that therapist should consider an alternative treatment that is tailored for depressed smokers in order to achieve more efficient results.

High neuroticism individuals tend to underperform in their given social and working environment. This is again due to their tendency of perceiving stress more as compared to low neuroticism individual, (McCrae, 1990). In addition, there is a possibility that neuroticism is influencing the cognitive process of the individual thus suppressing his or her performance in work as an example. A study conducted by Michon et al., (2006) had drawn an association of impairment of work when implementing mental disorder, neuroticism, external focus of control and low self-esteem. Each of them showed significant result towards impairment of work function ability. In addition, mental disorder existences were reduced significantly once personality traits were introduced (Michon et al., 2006). This illustrates the significance of the personality traits; especially neuroticism having quite an influential factor on the cognitive process of an individual’s performance, and that mental disorder can be classified as a separate entity because it has little or does not cause further work impairment (Michon et al., 2006).

However, that does not mean neuroticism bears no relation with mental disorders. A current study made by Griffit et al., (2009) demonstrated a correlation between neuroticism and internalizing psychopathology, to mood and anxiety disorders. Their findings also showed that internalizing psychopathology bears a relation to neuroticism. The relation of these two was so intensively prominent that one of Griffit et al., (2009) tests namely, self and peer report indicated that neuroticism might be the only characteristic similar to anxiety and mood disorders. Therefore, Griffith et al. (2009) suggestively indicated the possibility of neuroticism being a main element in internalizing psychopathology, and that neuroticism should be considered as a necessary factor in structural theories of mood and anxiety disorders. However, more replications on their study would be required to conclude such findings.

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In addition to the Griffith et al., (2009) research, there are possibilities that neuroticism can predict health outcomes involving the aspects of health and level of accuracy. According to the Hudek-Knežević and Kardum, (2009), despite the three health related personality construct being favorable in measuring health variables (such as general health), Hudek-Knežević and Kardum, (2009) identified that only the Five Factor personality model predicted chronic illnesses, and neuroticism was the only significant predictor variable for chronic illnesses. In addition, the research highlighted a correlation between negative experiences (which includes Type A behavior and hostility) with neuroticism. These two factors were observed to be overlapping and caused the significant results in predicting health outcomes. Thus, Hudek-Knežević and Kardum, (2009) concluded that Five Factor personality traits together with the three health related personality construct allowed efficient comprehension of personality that could be used for evaluating health status or cognitive processes. This application is relevant in the medical field for enhancing medical staffs’ relationships with their patients and their treatments (Hudek-Knežević and Kardum 2009). However, their research were based on self-reports than by objective assessments, and there would be a tendency of being prone to self-report biasness. Therefore, it is significant to conduct replications of their research with objective assessments in mind (Hudek-Knežević and Kardum 2009).

In conclusion, neuroticism seems to be used widely in research with other correlation factors such as low conscientious, low self-esteem, mental disorders and many more. It can also be used as an independent variable in determining the researcher’s objective. This observation implies that neuroticism is a versatile element in any form of psychological research. From the researches highlighted in this essay, the characteristics of neuroticism can be seen as ubiquitous. Although neuroticism may contribute to as a confounding element during a research, the capability it has together with other correlation factors allow neuroticism to not only address the issue of the research’s objective but to also open possibilities that can be further replicate or analyze for future findings.

In the realms of personality traits, the fundamental categorization of the tendency to develop anxiety, tension, anger, frustration are commonly defined as neuroticism or negative affectivity (Smith & Mackenzie, 2006). An individual who scores highly in such area has a noticeable tendency to be emotionally unstable and tends to respond or perform poorly to environmental stress. This attributes to the reason that the individual is submerged with negative affectivity and deemed oneself to be inadequate to the given situation; even if the individual is capable of solving a particular given problem, (McCrae, 1990). Researchers have made use of this dimension of neuroticism as a correlation to predict probable adverse outcomes ranging from disorders like mental disorders (Griffith et al., 2010) to diseases such as AIDS (Cooper, Shapiro, & Powers, 1998; Trobst et.al, 2000) which are major health related issues. For example, Hudek-Knežević and Kardum (2009) conducted a research by using the Big Five personality traits such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism with the three higher-order health related personality factors such as passivity, negative experience and optimistic control to determine the prediction of subjective health outcomes. It was identified that neuroticism was most consistent in relating to adverse health outcomes (Hudek-Knežević & Kardum, 2009). This implies that neuroticism has capabilities of being a variable and a correlation factor which substantiate the necessity to understand the mechanism and functionality of neuroticism. Therefore, researchers will be able to understand, predict and minimize or even to prevent adverse health outcomes by developing appropriate methods.

Researches show that neuroticism has significant influences on one’s perceptions and approaches to relieving stress (McCrae, 1990). This suggests that there is a possibility of a high neuroticism individual may have a tendency to seek risky health behavior as a form of relieving one’s stress. This exposes one’s health to be vulnerable to developing physical illnesses (Smith & Mackenzie, 2006). For instance, if risky health behaviors such as frequent smoking, consuming drugs and alcohol are seen as a form of coping strategy by a high neuroticism individual, one’s physical health is not only susceptible to diseases such as cancer in the lungs, damage to the liver, or coronary heart disease but also increases the risk of being prone to them. An example is neuroticism being a contributing factor to an individual’s undertaking in sexual risky behavior, can lead to AIDS. A research using functional perspective conducted by Cooper, Shapiro and Powers (1998) stated that the means of sexual behavior is to address various psychological needs by an individual. It has correlations with distinct characteristics of risky sexual actions, trends of neuroticism and interpersonal relationship (Cooper, Shapiro and Powers, 1998). This illustrates that an individual with neuroticism and low conscientiousness who undertakes risky sexual behavior exposes oneself to consequences of Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV) infections (Trobst et al., 2000). As a result, at a microscopic level; the individual who engages in multiple sexual partners increases his odds of contracting HIV that can give rise to various other complications and diseases. At a macroscopic level, it can be suggested that neuroticism can be a correlation factor to the spreading of HIV in a community or a contemporary society. Therefore, there is a necessary in understanding the mechanism and functionality of neuroticism and arresting its adverse effects. This factor plays an important role in keeping a society safe with good physical and mental health.

Every individual in a society will be exposed to a certain level of stress in one’s environment. Different personality traits in an individual will explain the different perception of levels of stress and different coping strategies. However, high neuroticism individuals will perceive similar circumstances to be much more stressful than the low neuroticism individual, (McCrae, 1990). Thus, both individuals will adopt different coping strategies. For example, a research for understanding relapsed smokers through associating with disengagement (such as withdrawing from one’s situation) and engagement coping strategies (such as initiating one’s approach towards the involved) was conducted by Friedman-Wheeler, Haaga, Gunthert, Ahrens and Mcintosh (2007). They used a correlation between depressive symptoms and neuroticism to determine which coping strategy a smoker would choose through a set of questionnaire. Friedman-Wheeler et al., (2007) have identified that depressive symptom smokers have a higher tendency to select disengagement strategy as a form of coping stress than a less neuroticism smoker. In addition, the relation with neuroticism was more comparatively concrete with regards to depressive symptoms. Examining neuroticism on its own and having depression removed, neuroticism is still clearly associated with the use of disengagement strategies (Friedman-Wheeler et al., 2007). These results illustrates that neuroticism can be an independent variable in relation to disengagement strategy and serves as a factor for managing depressed or high neuroticism smokers. In addition, Friedman-Wheeler et al., (2007) findings had highlighted that with current physiological methods; it may not be suitable for depressed smokers and suggested that therapist should consider an alternative treatment that is tailored for depressed smokers in order to achieve more efficient results.

High neuroticism individuals tend to underperform in their given social and working environment. This is again due to their tendency of perceiving stress more as compared to low neuroticism individual, (McCrae, 1990). In addition, there is a possibility that neuroticism is influencing the cognitive process of the individual thus suppressing his or her performance in work as an example. A study conducted by Michon et al., (2006) had drawn an association of impairment of work when implementing mental disorder, neuroticism, external focus of control and low self-esteem. Each of them showed significant result towards impairment of work function ability. In addition, mental disorder existences were reduced significantly once personality traits were introduced (Michon et al., 2006). This illustrates the significance of the personality traits; especially neuroticism having quite an influential factor on the cognitive process of an individual’s performance, and that mental disorder can be classified as a separate entity because it has little or does not cause further work impairment (Michon et al., 2006).

However, that does not mean neuroticism bears no relation with mental disorders. A current study made by Griffit et al., (2009) demonstrated a correlation between neuroticism and internalizing psychopathology, to mood and anxiety disorders. Their findings also showed that internalizing psychopathology bears a relation to neuroticism. The relation of these two was so intensively prominent that one of Griffit et al., (2009) tests namely, self and peer report indicated that neuroticism might be the only characteristic similar to anxiety and mood disorders. Therefore, Griffith et al. (2009) suggestively indicated the possibility of neuroticism being a main element in internalizing psychopathology, and that neuroticism should be considered as a necessary factor in structural theories of mood and anxiety disorders. However, more replications on their study would be required to conclude such findings.

In addition to the Griffith et al., (2009) research, there are possibilities that neuroticism can predict health outcomes involving the aspects of health and level of accuracy. According to the Hudek-Knežević and Kardum, (2009), despite the three health related personality construct being favorable in measuring health variables (such as general health), Hudek-Knežević and Kardum, (2009) identified that only the Five Factor personality model predicted chronic illnesses, and neuroticism was the only significant predictor variable for chronic illnesses. In addition, the research highlighted a correlation between negative experiences (which includes Type A behavior and hostility) with neuroticism. These two factors were observed to be overlapping and caused the significant results in predicting health outcomes. Thus, Hudek-Knežević and Kardum, (2009) concluded that Five Factor personality traits together with the three health related personality construct allowed efficient comprehension of personality that could be used for evaluating health status or cognitive processes. This application is relevant in the medical field for enhancing medical staffs’ relationships with their patients and their treatments (Hudek-Knežević and Kardum 2009). However, their research were based on self-reports than by objective assessments, and there would be a tendency of being prone to self-report biasness. Therefore, it is significant to conduct replications of their research with objective assessments in mind (Hudek-Knežević and Kardum 2009).

In conclusion, neuroticism seems to be used widely in research with other correlation factors such as low conscientious, low self-esteem, mental disorders and many more. It can also be used as an independent variable in determining the researcher’s objective. This observation implies that neuroticism is a versatile element in any form of psychological research. From the researches highlighted in this essay, the characteristics of neuroticism can be seen as ubiquitous. Although neuroticism may contribute to as a confounding element during a research, the capability it has together with other correlation factors allow neuroticism to not only address the issue of the research’s objective but to also open possibilities that can be further replicate or analyze for future findings.

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