Personality Characteristics and Health Psychology

4952 words 20 pages

Personality Characteristics and Health Psychology

In the field of psychology, a growing interest in the interaction between physical and mental health has become apparent. Psychologists are beginning to realize the importance of treating a client as a whole unit with many working elements that are interdependent on each other. The term coined currently is the biopsychosocial approach. Here, it is recognized that the client's psychological makeup is interdependent on their current biological state, which is also dependent on the social spheres the client finds themselves in. The focus of this paper is to highlight the importance of the way in which a
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Psychological health according to Freud, as reported by Hales (1994) is manifested in the physical as well. Individuals who suffer from medical symptoms caused by hysteria were thought to have a psychological imbalance were the libido was raging with sexual tension. The neurosis from holding back an overly active libido taxes the egos ability which would eventually manifest itself as a physical problem. The way in which this was dealt with by Freud and his many predecessors was through hypnosis where these subconscious frustrations could be expressed. Remarkably, Freud reported that he cured many hysterics throughout his career. Can Personality Characteristics be Antecedents to Poor Health? There is no doubt that physical health has effects on psychological well being. However, an important question is whether or not psychological variable can effect the progression of disease. For example, there is a large body of research that examines the interaction of anxiety and symptom severity in patients with chronic illness. One such study conducted by Adams, Dammer, Saia, Brantley and Gaydos (1994) shoed that stress, depression, anxiety, and anger were all associated with and exacerbated self-reported symptoms related to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; a medical condition characterized by inflammation of connective tissue affecting the skin, joints, kidneys,


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