Personality factors

Flashcards by T W, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by T W about 6 years ago


Revision flashcards from my own notes and the textbook for AQA specification AS level Psychology. Biological psychology: Stress, Personality factors and stress, Type A behaviour and The Hardy Personality

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Question Answer
Type A behaviour Respond to stress with impatience + time urgency, hostile + aggressiveness and competitive + achievement striving. Characteristics= lead to raised blood pressure and raised levels of stress hormones- linked to ill health (CHD)
Type B behaviour Lacking Type A behaviour- easy-going, patient, relaxed. Decreases individuals risk of stress-related illness
Freidman and Rosenman (1959) 3 MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS 1. Competitiveness and achievement striving 2. impatience and time urgency 3. Hostility and aggressiveness - They believed these led to raised blood pressure and raised levels of stress hormones, both of which are linked to ill health, particularly the development of CHD
Friedman and Rosenman (1960) Apprx. 3000 men aged 39-59 in California Examined for signs of CHD (to exclude those who were found to be ill) & personality assessed by interview In the interview: questions about how they respond to everyday pressures. E.g. hot they would cope standing in a long queue Interview in a provocative manner to trigger Type A behaviour. E.g. interviewer would speak slowly so a Type A would want to interrupt Found: after 8 and a half years later twice as many Type A's died of heart attacks (12%) compared to 6% of Type B's Type A= higher bp + cholesterol Evaluation: Andocentric, so cannot be generalised to wider population Is personality the cause or effect of stress? It is difficult to be sure. Culture bias, in individual cultures men are socialised to display type A behaviour Myrtek (2001) conducted a meta-analysis of 35 studies, found association between CHD and a component of Type A personality - hostility (ONLY hostility) Interview - social desirability effect Correlational research - not cause and effect Extraneous variable - Other factors may have controlled rates of CHD
The Hardy Personality - Kobasa and Maddi (1977) Maria Kobasa suggests that ‘hardiness’ provides defenses against the negative effects of stress. Kobasa and Maddi suggested some people are more psychologically 'hardy' than others There are three characteristics (known as ‘the 3 Cs’): 1) Control – An individual believes that they are the sole influential factor in their life – that is to say, they feel they have complete control over their lives and its events. This belief is empowering and enables one to defend himself against stress. 2) Commitment – An individual’s awareness of their own purpose and sense of involvement in the world and of their own life. They see the world as something they should connect with rather than avoid. They are unlikely to give up in stressful situations and display perseverance. 3) Challenge – An individual may see changes or events in life as obstacles that they are able to overcome, even as opportunities that will enable them to grow as a person instead of threats/stressors. It is seen as a learning experience.
Kobasa (1979) 800 American business executives assessed using SRRS Approx 150 classified as high stress Some had low illness record whereas others had a high illness record, suggesting that some other variable was modifying the effects of stress. Kobasa proposed that a hardy personality type encourages resilience The individuals in the high stress/low illness group scored high on all three hardiness characteristics, whereas the high stress/high illness group scored lower on these variables
Maddi et al (1987) Studied employees in a US company that was dramatically reducing the size of it workforce over one year. 2/3 of the employees suffered stress-related health problems over the period. 1/3 thrived, showing more evidence of hardiness attributes.
Lifton et al (2006) Studied students in 5 different US universities. Students scoring low in hardiness were disproportionately represented among the drop-outs. Students with a high score were more likely to complete their degree
EVALUATION OF HARDINESS - Hardiness and negative affectivity (NA) Watson and Clark (1984) Characteristics of the hardy personality can be more simply explained by the concepts of NA. High NA individuals are more likely to report distress and dissatisfaction, dwell more on their failures, and focus more on negative aspects of themselves and their world. NA and hardiness correlate reasonably well, suggesting 'hardy individuals' are simply those low on NA.
EVALUATION OF HARDINESS - Problems of measurement Most of the research support for a link between hardiness and health has relied upon data obtained through self-report questionnaires. More recent efforts have led to the development of Personal Views Survey, addressing many criticisms raised with respect to the original measure, such as long and awkward wording and negatively worded items. However, not all the problems have been resolved. For example, some studies show low internal reliability for the challenge component of hardiness.
EVALUATION OF HARDINESS - Real world applications Hardiness has been used to explain why some soldiers remain healthy under war-related stress. (Bartone 1999) In the 1990s Gulf War, the higher the hardiness level, the greater the ability of soldiers to experience combat-related stress without negative health consequences such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Applicants for the elite military units, such as the US Navy Seals, are now screened for hardiness, with hardiness training becoming more widespread throughout the military.
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