Smoking, Health, and Personality

By H. J. Eysenck | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Personality and Constitution

It is much easier to be critical than correct.

DISRAELI

WE HAVE ALREADY referred several times to the so-called constitutional theory of lung cancer and smoking, i.e. the hypothesis first put forward by Sir Ronald Fisher that people of a certain constitutional type are particularly prone to lung cancer and are also particularly predisposed to take up cigarette smoking. In this form the theory is too weak to be very useful because it is so indefinite that no specific test can be conducted to support or disprove it. What is maintained in effect is that there are certain types of people who smoke; that this type of person has acquired his particular personality through hereditary causes, and that this particular type of person is also more likely to develop cancer. Clearly, therefore, psychological studies are needed to link up both smoking and cancer proneness with specific personality types. It is the purpose of the present chapter to demonstrate such a link between personality and smoking, but in order to do so we must first of all consider very briefly the description and measurement of personality.

The concept of personality in psychology is a very confused one and the term is used by many different people in many different ways. [18] Essentially, however, there are two main definitions or ways of looking at personality. The first of these may be called the behaviouristic view. As an example of this approach we may quote J. B. Watson, the originator of behaviourism. According to him personality is: 'The sum of

-75-

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Smoking, Health, and Personality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Smoking, Health and Personality *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Introduction ii
  • Chapter 1 - The Origin and Growth of a Habit 17
  • Chapter 2 - The Development of Suspicion 33
  • Chapter 3 - The Critics Hit Back 50
  • Chapter 4 - Personality and Constitution 75
  • Chapter 5 - Smokers and Non-Smokers 90
  • Chapter 6 - Cancer and Personality 107
  • Chapter 7 - The Causes of Lung Cancer 119
  • Chapter 8 - Giving Up Smoking? 138
  • Epilogue - Where There's Smoke There's Fire 151
  • Notes 156
  • Index 161
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