Do you have a healthy personality? Researchers think they can tell you










Big five traits associated with life outcomes

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 associations with measures of narcissism and psychopathy yielded a more complex picture, however. Specifically, people with healthy personalities tended to score lower in the maladaptive aspects of narcissism such as exploitativeness but relatively higher in the potentially adaptive aspects of grandiosity and self-sufficiency. In a similar vein, people with healthier personalities scored low on the maladaptive facets of psychopathy measures such as blame externalization or disinhibition but relatively higher on the more adaptive facets of these scales such as stress immunity or boldness.

Overall, these results provide initial evidence for the convergent and divergent validity of the healthy personality index, researchers said.

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