It seems like there’s an endless variety of personality traits out there, doesn’t it? But according to research, just five of those attributes might be key to finding out whether you have a healthy personality or not.
A November 2018 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology surveyed hundreds of professional personality psychologists and hundreds of college students about which traits come together to make up a healthy personality. Based on measurements of the “big five” personality traits — neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness — the results showed quite a striking consensus among the participants surveyed.
Researchers said that both experts and non-experts agreed that a healthy personality includes low levels of neuroticism and high levels of openness to feelings, warmth, positive emotions, and agreeable straightforwardness.
“We believe our results have both practical implications for the assessment of and research on health personality functioning as well as deeper implications for theories about psychological adaption and functioning,” said lead author Wiebke Bleidorn, PhD, in a press release. “In addition to providing a comprehensive description of a psychologically healthy individual in terms of basic traits, the profile generated and tested provides a practical assessment tool for research on healthy personality functioning.”
After the survey, researchers collected data of personality traits from more than 3,000 participants and compared each person’s “healthy personality index” to the expert-generated profile of a healthy personality. As it turned out, the folks who matched most closely to this specific personality tended to have higher self-esteem and optimism, as well as low levels of aggression and antisocial behavior. According to researchers, you might do a much better job spotting these traits in people than you think.
“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,” said Dr. Bleidorn.
If you’re interested in identifying your main traits, you can assess your own personality here.