Links Between Personality and Health

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The importance of understanding the links between personality and health are being increasingly recognized within the scientific and psychological society, over the years research and theoretical advances have begun to uncover that personality can have an effect on health, whether good or bad. Illnesses can be a cause of many factors that may be biological, psychological, environmental or even sociological. Suggesting that illnesses are related to more than just biological infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis, pneumonia, influenza, etc. of which during the 1900’s were major killers within western societies. (Stroebe, 2000) Yet as medicines understanding of these diseases grew and as vaccinations and treatments were made available the major culprit for death was no longer of a purely biological nature. By the year 2000 the major killers were taking the form of cardiovascular diseases which include coronary heart disease(CHD), High blood pressure, and cancer, (American Heart Association, 1999) that have many psychological, environmental and behavioral links, and most importantly links to stress and how our body copes while experiencing it. Selye’s three stages of the general adaptation syndrome (1976) can be directly linked to the above and have on many occasions been associated to personality and its effects on health. These developments have facilitated in the creation of ‘Health psychology,’ as researchers in this field evaluate and study the link between the mind and body, and how the environment may have an impact on these to produce illness or health. The following essay will interpret work written by professionals within the field of Health Psychology and offer an explanation of how Personality can impact health, with reference to research and theories, and to highlight personality’s role in Coronary Heart disease and cancer. The effect of stress on an individual’s physical health can have very serious consequences if the body’s response to the stress...
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