The healthiest personality traits include stable emotions, openness to feelings, the experience of positive emotions and being agreeable, new research finds.
People with these traits tend to have higher self-esteem, be more optimistic and find it easier to regulate their emotions.
The conclusions come from a survey of both professional psychologists and college students, totalling in the thousands.
Both gave surprisingly similar answers to what constitutes a healthy personality, said Dr Wiebke Bleidorn, the study’s first author:
“People in general, no matter whether they are experts or not, seem to have quite a clear idea of what a healthy personality looks like.”
The study revealed that people with the healthiest personalities have the following traits:
- Openness to feelings
- Positive emotions
- Low depression
- Low anxiety
- Low impulsivity
- Low stress vulnerability
- Low anger hostility
Naturally, those with healthy personalities also scored lower in narcissism and exploitativeness.
However, they scored higher in more healthy aspects of narcissism, such as self-sufficiency and grandiosity.
Similarly, on tests of psychopathy, healthy people scored lower on negative traits like disinhibition, but higher on positive traits like boldness.
The study’s authors concluded:
“Individuals with high scores on the healthy personality index were psychologically well-adjusted, had high self-esteem, good self-regulatory skills, an optimistic outlook on the world, and a clear and stable self-view.
These individuals were low in aggression and meanness, unlikely to exploit others, and were relatively immune to stress and self-sufficient.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in PsyArXiv (Bleidorn et al., 2018).