Handbook of Personality and Health

  • ID: 2325146
  • Book
  • 362 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Because it captures biological, psychological, and positional aspects of the individual, personality is now recognized as a key element in understanding health across the long term.  By drawing significant attention to models and mechanisms, this impressive and intelligent book helps reveal what is currently known and what remains to be identified in understanding the intriguing associations between individual differences and health.

–– Howard S. Friedman, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

The leading causes of death in the Western world are diseases of the heart, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes and unintentional injuries. Personality is a major predictor of the biological reactions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours that are involved in these causes of death.

This handbook brings together state–of–the–art research addressing the complex relationship between personality and health. Written by leading international researchers, the book is divided into three sections: section one examines the influence of personality on health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer; section two explores the mechanisms that mediate the relationship between personality and health, such as health and illness behaviours; section three details personality–specific prevention and intervention techniques. Adult health behaviour and child and adolescent health behaviour are covered.

Handbook of Personality and Health is the first to address these key topics in one comprehensive volume. It will be a valuable resource for all those interested in the intersection between personality and health including researchers, academics, practising health psychologists, and students of health and personality psychology.


Benjamin K. Barton, Canada

R. Lewis Donohew, USA

Katherine T. Fortenberry, USA

Derek R. Freres, USA

David M. Frost, USA

Jane Gillham, USA

Amanda C. Jones, USA

Judith Lehnart, Germany

Franz J. Neyer, Germany

Suzanne C. Ouellette, USA

James W. Pennebaker, USA

Adelita V. Ranchor, The Netherlands

Espen Røysamb, Norway

Robbert Sanderman, The Netherlands

David C. Schwebel, USA

Suzanne C. Segerstrom, USA

Norbert K. Semmer, Switzerland

Timothy W. Smith, USA

Svenn Torgersen, Norway

Margarete E. Vollrath, Norway

Martha C. Whiteman, UK

Deborah J. Wiebe, USA

Paula G. Williams, USA

Redford B. Williams, USA

Virginia P. Williams, USA

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About the Editor.

List of Contributors.

Introduction: Who Becomes Sick and Who Stays Healthy, How and Why, and What Can be Done About It (Margarete E. Vollrath).

Part I: Personality and Major Health Outcomes.

Chapter 1. Personality, Cardiovascular Disease and Public Health (Martha C. Whitian).

Chapter 2. The Role of Personality in Cancer Onset and Survival (Adelita V. Ranchor and Robbert Sanderman).

Chapter 3. Tiperament and Children s Unintentional Injuries (David C. Schwebel and Benjamin K. Barton).

Chapter 4. Personality, Stress, and Coping (Norbert K. Simer).

Chapter 5. Personality and Well–Being (Espen Røysamb).

Part II: Mediators of the Personality Health Relationship.

Chapter 6. Mechanisms Relating Personality and Health (Deborah J. Wiebe and Katherine T. Fortenberry).

Chapter 7. Personality and Illness Behavior (Paula G. Williams).

Chapter 8. Physiological Pathways from Personality to Health: The Cardiovascular and Immune Systis (Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Timothy W. Smith).

Chapter 9. Personality, Relationships, and Health: a Dynamic–Transactional Perspective (Franz J. Neyer and Judith Lehnart).

Chapter 10. Personality Types, Personality Traits, and Risky Health Behavior (Svenn Torgersen and Margarete E. Vollrath).

Chapter 11. The Possibilities of Personality Psychology and Persons for the Study of Health (Suzanne C. Ouellette and David M. Frost).

Part III: Targeting Personality: Prevention and Intervention.

Chapter 12. The Prevention and Treatment of Hostility (Redford B. Williams and Virginia P. Williams).

Chapter 13. Expressive Writing, Psychological Processes, and Personality (Amanda C. Jones and James W. Pennebaker).

Chapter 14. Media, Sensation Seeking, and Prevention (Lewis Donohew).

Chapter 15. The Promotion of Optimism and Health (Derek R. Freres and Jane Gillham).


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Margarete E. Vollrath is Professor of Personality Psychology at the University of Oslo in Norway and affiliated with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Division of Mental Health. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the European Association of Personality Psychology. She completed a PhD and obtained the venia legendi in psychology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland Dr. Vollrath joined the Psychological Institute of the University of Oslo in Norway in 2001.

Dr Vollrath began her career with research on the epidemiology and course of mental disorders in young adults. She then turned to exploring the influence of personality and personality disorders on stress, coping, and risky health behaviors both in psychiatric patients and healthy young adults. In recent years, her interests have gradually shifted to child health. In a study conducted with University Children′s Hospital in Zurich, she investigated how children with diabetes, cancer, and injuries adjust to their situation. In another project, a large cohort study in Norway, she is examining the impact of child personality traits on early appearing health behaviors, such as eating and physical activity. The idea to edit this Handbook stems from her long experience in teaching health psychology at the Universities of Zurich and Oslo and the vivid discussions with her students during her seminars and lectures.

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