Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Illness Behavior: Prediction by Symptoms, the Grossarth-Maticek and Eysenck Personality Types, Neuroticism, Life Events, Coping, Health Locus of Control, Social Support, and Attribution Style

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Illness Behavior: Prediction by Symptoms, the Grossarth-Maticek and Eysenck Personality Types, Neuroticism, Life Events, Coping, Health Locus of Control, Social Support, and Attribution Style

Article excerpt

A study was carried out with 501 persons to analyze the predictive capacity of various psychosocial variables-symptom perception, neuroticism, Personality Types 2 and 4 of Grossarth-Maticek and Eysenck, beliefs about health, social support, or certain coping styles-on two health-related behaviors: the frequency of visits to the doctor and self-medication. The results were analyzed by two structural equation models that revealed that some of the variables have direct effects on the behaviors, whereas other variables, such as attribution style, coping styles, or the impact of the stressors, have indirect effects via the reported symptoms or neuroticism. In addition, selfmedication and the frequency of health service visits are independent of each other, which shows that their determinants are different. It is concluded that to address these factors in the two health indicators, it is also necessary to take in account the psychosocial variables considered herein.

Keywords: personality types, illness behavior, coping styles, self-medication, symptom complaints

Se ha llevado a cabo un estudio con 501 personas en el que se intenta analizar la capacidad predictiva de algunas variables psicosociales-la percepción de síntomas, el neuroticismo, los tipos de personalidad 2 y 4 de Grossarth-Maticek y Eysenck, las creencias sobre la salud, el apoyo social y algunos estilos de afrontamiento - sobre dos conductas relacionadas con la salud, la frecuencia de visitas al médico y la automedicación. Los resultados han sido analizados a través de dos modelos de ecuaciones estructurales que ponen de manifiesto que algunas de las variables predictoras tienen efectos directos sobre las conductas consideradas, mientras que otras lo hacen de manera indirecta a través de los síntomas informados o del neuroticismo. Además, la automedicación y la frecuencia de asistencia a los servicios de salud son independientes entre sí, lo que vendría a poner de manifiesto que los determinantes de ambas son distintas, como se comprueba en este trabajo. Se concluye que al abordar los factores implicados en estos dos indicadores de salud, es preciso también tener en cuenta las variables psicosociales aquí consideradas.

Palabras clave: Tipos de personalidad, conducta de enfermedad, estilos de afrontamiento, automedicación, quejas de síntomas

The search for individual psychological differences to explain illnesses has generated a vast field of research. Studies proliferate that support opposing hypotheses: Some suggest the relevance of psychosocial variables in the genesis and evolution of a large number of illnesses and others question and minimize their relevance (Bermúdez, 1999; Friedman, 1990). The concept of health as more than the mere absence of disease has facilitated the use of psychological theories about health to predict various health-related aspects.

Amongst the earliest ones, the theoretical positions are very diverse, especially those referring to the field of personality. Some theories defend the existence of personality types that are prone to illnesses (Friedman & Roseman, 1959; Grossarth-Maticek, Eysenck, & Vetter, 1988) or illness processes linked to general traits (Eysenck, 1985). From the cognitive social perspective, there are general health-related personality constructs (Peterson & Seligman, 1987) and more specific constructs that emerge in this field (Scheier & Carver, 1992; Wallston, Wallston, Kaplan, & Maides, 1976). From this perspective, emotional processes are considered to be responsible for the onset of health problems in the population (Kubzansky & Kawachi, 2000; Smith & Ruiz, 2002), whereas other perspectives consider stress and the way people cope with it to be the cause of these difficulties, and thus, a predictor of the onset of illness (Petticrew, Fraser, & Regan, 1999) or of its evolution once it has appeared (Rodríguez- Marín, Pastor, & López-Reig, 1993). …

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