Academic journal article Education

Typing the Worrier: Relationship between Worry and Jung's Personality Types

Academic journal article Education

Typing the Worrier: Relationship between Worry and Jung's Personality Types

Article excerpt

Worry has been defined as a series of uncontrollable thoughts and images that create negative emotions and the development of a persistent level of fear (Kelly & Miller, 1999). Previous research indicated that there are different degrees to which people experience worry, how it influences behavior, and how it is managed. For example, in one study, 38% of the participants reported that they experience worry everyday and 72% indicated that they worry at least once a month (Tallis, Davey, & Capuzzo, 1994). Although the tendency to worry appears to be a continuum (Ruscio, Borkovec, & Ruscio, 2001), characterizing experiences related to worry is somewhat easier to conceptualize if one distinguishes between what in this article we will term worriers--individuals who worry frequently, and nonworriers--individuals who are less prone to experience worry.

A key element characterizing worriers is the tendency to experience anxiety and stress (Davey, Hampton, Farrell, & Davidson, 1991; Kelly, 2008). Anxiety and stress for worriers appears highest when considering making mistakes, being criticized, and meeting people (Pruzinsky & Borkovec, 1990). These findings have been substantiated by research indicating worriers' tendencies to experience perfectionism (Chang, 2000), pessimism (Stober & Joormann, 2001), and intolerance for uncertainty (Dugas, Gosselin, & Ladouceur, 2001). Worriers have also scored higher on public self-consciousness than nonworriers in addition to developing anxiety when placed in social settings (Pruzinsky & Borkovec, 1990). The almost continuous anxiety of the worrier likely influences their proneness to experience many somatic discomforts (Jung, 1993) and less life satisfaction (Paolini, Yanez, & Kelly, 2006).

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between worry and Jung's (1921) model of psychological types. Jung's model suggests that the superordinate dimension of personality is introversion and extraversion (I/E). Introverts are likely to relate to the external world by listening, reflecting, being reserved, and having focused interests (Francis, Craig, & Robbins, 2007). Extraverts on the other hand, are adaptable and in tune with the external world. They prefer interacting with the outer world by talking, actively participating, being sociable, expressive, and having a variety of interests (Francis et al., 2007).

Jung (1921) identified two other dimensions of personality: Intuition--Sensing (US) and Thinking--Feeling (T/F). Sensing types tend to focus on the reality of present situations, pay close attention to detail, and are concerned with practicalities (Myers, 2000; Woolhouse & Bayne, 2000). Intuitive types focus on envisioning a wide range of possibilities to a situation and favor ideas, concepts, and theories over data (Jung, 1921). Individuals who score higher on intuition also score higher on general intelligence and aptitude tests (Moutafi, Furnham, & Crump, 2003; Myers & McCaulley, 1985; Kaufman, McLean, & Lincoln, 1996).

Thinking types use objective and logical reasoning in making their decisions (Francis, Nash, Nash, & Craig, 2007), are more likely to analyze stimuli in a logical and detached manner (Village & Francis, 2005), be more emotionally stable (Furnham, Moutafi, & Paltiel, 2005), and score higher on intelligence (Furnham et al., 2005). Feeling types make judgments based on subjective and personal values. In interpersonal decision-making, feeling types tend to emphasize compromise to ensure a beneficial solution for everyone (Francis et al. 2007). They also tend to be somewhat more neurotic than thinking types (Furnham et al., 2005).

After being inspired by Jung's approach to psychological type, Briggs and Myers combined other elements of Jung's theory of personality and added a separate dimension called Judging--Perceiving (J/P) (McCaulley, 2000). The Judging type may prefer to plan ahead and organize information, whereas a Perceiving type may hesitate in their decision-making until they have as much information as possible and be unstructured in their planning (Francis, Craig, & Robbins, 2007). …

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