Character Traits 

Character traits

Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

Character traits are the distinctive qualities that shape an individual’s behavior, attitudes and coping mechanisms. These traits considerably influence a person’s mental health and quality of relationships.

What Are Character Traits?  

Character traits are enduring patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors 1 Laible, M. C., Anger, S., & Baumann, M. (2020). Personality Traits and Further Training. Frontiers in psychology11, 510537. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.510537 that define an individual’s personality. They encompass various psychological dimensions that shape how a person interacts with the world around them. These traits are relatively stable over time and across different situations, serving as fundamental building blocks of one’s identity.

Types Of Character Traits  

The different types of character traits can be categorized in various ways, but some common types 2 Sanchez-Roige, S., Gray, J. C., MacKillop, J., Chen, C. H., & Palmer, A. A. (2018). The genetics of human personality. Genes, brain, and behavior17(3), e12439. https://doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12439 include:

1. Big Five Traits

Derived from the Five Factor Model 3 Widiger, T. A., Crego, C., Rojas, S. L., & Oltmanns, J. R. (2018). Basic personality model. Current opinion in psychology21, 18–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.09.007 , these include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. They provide a broad framework for understanding personality.

2. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Based on Jungian theory, MBTI identifies 16 personality types, each characterized by preferences in four dichotomies: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving.

Read More About Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Here

3. Trait Theory

This theory suggests that personality consists of a set of distinct traits. Gordon Allport’s work on trait theory proposed that traits can be cardinal, central, or secondary.

4. Psychodynamic Theory

Freudian theory emphasizes the role of unconscious processes in shaping personality, including the id, ego, and superego. Traits such as aggression, neuroticism, and defense mechanisms are central to this theory.

5. Humanistic Theory

Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow emphasized self-actualization and personal growth. Traits associated with humanistic theory include empathy, authenticity, and self-awareness.

6. Cognitive Theory

Cognitive theorists like Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck focus on cognitive processes influencing personality. Traits such as irrational beliefs, cognitive distortions, and schemas are central in cognitive theory.

7. Social-Cognitive Theory

This theory emphasizes the reciprocal interaction between personality, behavior, and environmental factors. Traits such as self-efficacy, locus of control, and learned helplessness are important in this framework.

Character Traits And Mental Health 

The different types of character traits and mental health are intricately related 4 Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R. (2007). The Power of Personality: The Comparative Validity of Personality Traits, Socioeconomic Status, and Cognitive Ability for Predicting Important Life Outcomes. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science2(4), 313–345. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6916.2007.00047.x in a number of ways:

1. Conscientiousness:

High conscientiousness correlates with improved mental health, lower depression, and anxiety rates, often due to better adherence to treatment plans and healthier behaviors.

Read More About Conscientiousness Here

2. Neuroticism:

Elevated neuroticism is one of the negative character traits that heightens susceptibility to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, stemming from heightened negative emotions and stress coping challenges.

Read More About Neuroticism Here

3. Extraversion:

Extraversion fosters better mental health through increased social support and engagement in mood-boosting activities, shielding against loneliness and depression.

4. Openness:

Openness to experience can promote resilience and effective coping strategies in challenging situations, but extreme levels may contribute to unconventional thinking and mood disorders.

Read More About Openness Here

5. Agreeableness:

High agreeableness fosters healthier interpersonal relationships and communication, reducing the risk of mental health issues by promoting empathy and cooperation.

6. Resilience:

Resilient traits, such as optimism and adaptive coping, are vital for maintaining psychological well-being in the face of adversity, aiding in recovery from mental health challenges.

7. Self-awareness:

Enhanced self-awareness enables individuals to recognize and manage early signs of mental health problems, promoting emotional regulation and symptom mitigation.

8. Impulsivity:

High impulsivity heightens the risk of mental health issues like substance abuse 5 Kozak, K., Lucatch, A. M., Lowe, D. J. E., Balodis, I. M., MacKillop, J., & George, T. P. (2019). The neurobiology of impulsivity and substance use disorders: implications for treatment. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1451(1), 71–91. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13977 and ADHD 6 Winstanley, C. A., Eagle, D. M., & Robbins, T. W. (2006). Behavioral models of impulsivity in relation to ADHD: translation between clinical and preclinical studies. Clinical psychology review26(4), 379–395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2006.01.001 , stemming from difficulties in self-control and emotion management.

How Mental Illness Affects Character Traits 

Mental illness can significantly impact 7 Hopwood, C. J., Donnellan, M. B., Blonigen, D. M., Krueger, R. F., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., & Burt, S. A. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: a three-wave longitudinal study. Journal of personality and social psychology100(3), 545–556. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022409 character traits, often altering behavior, emotions, and thought patterns. For instance, depression can diminish motivation, leading to decreased conscientiousness and productivity. Similarly, individuals with anxiety disorders may exhibit heightened neuroticism, characterized by increased worry and emotional instability.

These conditions can also affect agreeableness, as symptoms such as irritability and social withdrawal may hinder interpersonal relationships. Additionally, certain personality disorders, like borderline personality disorder, can distort self-awareness and impair social functioning, influencing various character traits.

Furthermore, severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia can profoundly affect personality and behavior. Individuals with negative character traits may experience disruptions in thought processes and perceptions, leading to unusual behaviors and reduced social engagement. Disorders like bipolar disorder can cause fluctuations in mood and energy levels, impacting traits such as stability and impulsivity. Substance abuse disorders can also alter character traits, exacerbating impulsivity and impairing judgment.

Tips To Develop Positive Character Traits

Consider the following tips 8 Höfer, S., Gander, F., Höge, T., & Ruch, W. (2020). Special Issue: Character Strengths, Well-Being, and Health in Educational and Vocational Settings. Applied research in quality of life15(2), 301–306. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-018-9688-y to develop positive character traits:

  • Practice mindfulness to enhance self-awareness and emotional regulation.
  • Cultivate empathy and compassion through volunteer work or helping others.
  • Set and pursue meaningful goals to foster conscientiousness and perseverance.
  • Engage in activities that promote personal growth and openness to new experiences.
  • Build healthy social connections to strengthen agreeableness and interpersonal skills.
  • Develop resilience by learning from setbacks and maintaining a positive outlook.
  • Seek feedback from others to identify negative character traits and areas for improvement and personal growth.
  • Practice self-discipline to overcome impulsivity and foster self-control.
  • Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management to support overall well-being.
  • Continuously educate oneself and remain open to learning and self-improvement.

Read More About Mindfulness Here

Takeaway 

Character traits are lasting attributes that profoundly affect behavior and emotions. Their influence on mental illness underscores the need to nurture positive traits like resilience and empathy. Recognizing this relationship empowers individuals to develop strengths and coping mechanisms, ultimately improving mental well-being.

At A Glance 

  1. Character traits are enduring patterns of behavior, thoughts, and emotions that shape an individual’s personality.
  2. Character traits have been categorized into various types such as the Big Five Traits and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
  3. These traits play a significant role in mental health, impacting susceptibility to mental illness and coping strategies.
  4. Mental illness, in turn, can alter character traits, affecting behavior, emotions, and thought patterns.
  5. Developing positive character traits through mindfulness, empathy, goal-setting, social connections, resilience, self-discipline, and self-care can promote psychological well-being and personal growth.
  6. Understanding and cultivating these traits empower individuals to effectively manage mental health challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does Everyone Have Character Traits?

Yes, everyone possesses character traits.

2. Are Character Traits Genetic?

While genetics may influence certain traits, character development primarily stems from environmental factors and personal choices.

3. What Are The Benefits Of Good Character?

The benefits of good character include fostering positive relationships, building trust, and promoting personal fulfillment.

4. How Many Traits Should A Character Have?

The number of traits a character should have varies depending on complexity, depth, and narrative requirements, but a mix of strengths and weaknesses adds depth and realism.

References:

  • 1
    Laible, M. C., Anger, S., & Baumann, M. (2020). Personality Traits and Further Training. Frontiers in psychology11, 510537. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.510537
  • 2
    Sanchez-Roige, S., Gray, J. C., MacKillop, J., Chen, C. H., & Palmer, A. A. (2018). The genetics of human personality. Genes, brain, and behavior17(3), e12439. https://doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12439
  • 3
    Widiger, T. A., Crego, C., Rojas, S. L., & Oltmanns, J. R. (2018). Basic personality model. Current opinion in psychology21, 18–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.09.007
  • 4
    Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R. (2007). The Power of Personality: The Comparative Validity of Personality Traits, Socioeconomic Status, and Cognitive Ability for Predicting Important Life Outcomes. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science2(4), 313–345. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6916.2007.00047.x
  • 5
    Kozak, K., Lucatch, A. M., Lowe, D. J. E., Balodis, I. M., MacKillop, J., & George, T. P. (2019). The neurobiology of impulsivity and substance use disorders: implications for treatment. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1451(1), 71–91. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13977
  • 6
    Winstanley, C. A., Eagle, D. M., & Robbins, T. W. (2006). Behavioral models of impulsivity in relation to ADHD: translation between clinical and preclinical studies. Clinical psychology review26(4), 379–395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2006.01.001
  • 7
    Hopwood, C. J., Donnellan, M. B., Blonigen, D. M., Krueger, R. F., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., & Burt, S. A. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: a three-wave longitudinal study. Journal of personality and social psychology100(3), 545–556. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022409
  • 8
    Höfer, S., Gander, F., Höge, T., & Ruch, W. (2020). Special Issue: Character Strengths, Well-Being, and Health in Educational and Vocational Settings. Applied research in quality of life15(2), 301–306. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-018-9688-y
8 ways to cope with the signs of panic attack 7 Mental Health Benefits Of Watching Rom-Coms 10 Reasons Why People Find Horoscopes Comforting 10 Breathing Exercises For Mental Health How To Have A Mental Health Conversation With Your Partner 8 Tips To Overcome Trauma 10 Best Indoor Games For Sound Mental Health 7 Flowers That Improve Mental Health 7 Ways Mental Health Issues Trigger Cardiac Arrests 10 Mental Health Benefits Of Surya Namaskar 5+ Drinks To Reduce Stress And Anxiety 10 Signs Of A Midlife Crisis