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Is Your Personality Healthy?

Throughout history, various cultures have had different views of personality:

Personality is fixed.

Personality is changeable.

Personality is the same as character and/or character traits.

Personality includes character and character traits, but it is more than the sum of its parts.

Personality is attained through one’s upbringing, environment, etc.

One is born with personality and it is attained through one’s combination of genetic inheritances (and sometimes the pre-birth environment of the fetus.)

Personality is a mix of nature and nurture.

And so on.


UC Davis, Professor of psychology Wiebke Bleidorn, leads the Personality Change Lab, which asks: How stable is our personality? When and why does it change?

It describes the research it does as occupied by these two questions. They study “both long-term changes in individual differences across the life span and short-term fluctuations in people’s way of dealing with the world – that is, personality dynamics and functioning in people’s daily lives.”

Their goal is to “further integrate these two lines of research because this integrated perspective promises to provide new insights into the underlying processes of personality functioning and development.”

In order to understand personality in flux, one must define what constitutes a healthy personality. To that end, Bleidorn is also the lead researcher on a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The study idea was to devise a consensus on what traits a healthy personality should contain.

The researchers interviewed over 130 psychology professionals and asked them to look at the five foundational personality traits including neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness, and to rate 30 aspects of these traits. Then they examined 3000 subjects and analyzed their personalities in order to develop a healthy personality index.

What does a healthy personality profile look like?

People with a healthy profile according to the researchers exhibited most or all of the following traits:

psychologically well-adjusted*
openness to feelings
ability to resist temptation
high self-esteem
good self-regulatory skills
optimistic outlook on the world
clear, stable self-view
not aggressive (kinder rather than nastier)
unlikely to exploit others
able to deal with most stress
warm connection to others

*Well-adjusted can be defined as mentally/emotionally stable and able to deal with the ups and downs of life in a mature manner.

This isn’t to say that you have to have all these traits to have a healthy personality, and it’s also not to say that you can’t work on and change or acquire traits. But having these traits in strong measure is a good indicator, say the researchers, of a healthy personality. The list largely resembles a list of good character traits from perhaps an earlier time, when character was something the Western world, believed to be extremely important. Back when a person was said to be a person of good character–or it’s opposite.

How many of these traits do you have?

Do you feel anything is missing from this list?

Do you think any item on this list is superfluous to a healthy personality?


Is Your Personality Healthy?

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2018). Is Your Personality Healthy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Nov 2018
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