Extraversion and Perceived Energy: Direct and Indirect Impacts on Stress and Health (pp. 531-566)
Authors: Dave Korotkov
Abstract: This research examined the direct, moderating, and mediating roles of extraversion in relation to perceived energy, daily stress, and health status. It was hypothesized that, (1) extraversion is a construct distinct from perceived energy, (2) extraversion would moderate the stress and health relationship with introverts self-reporting more symptoms of ill-health under high stress levels, (3) extraverts who report high levels of perceived energy would also report experiencing higher levels of positive health, (4) individuals with high levels of self-reported energy, under high levels of stress, would experience fewer health problems, (5) state energy would mediate the extraversion and stress to health status relationship, and (6) state energy would mediate the relationship between extraversion and stress. To test the hypotheses, questionnaire data was collected from 543 university students. The results from several multivariate analyses provided partial support for the hypotheses. In particular, extraversion was found to be related to, but distinct from the state construct of perceived energy. It was also found that individuals who reported high levels of energy and stress, also experienced fewer symptoms of ill-health. Contrary to prediction, it was found that extraverts, under high levels of daily stress, reported more health concerns. It is speculated that this may be more a function of the analysis procedure as opposed to a theoretical corollary.
During the past several decades, there has been a renewed interest in the fields of personality, and relatedly, personality and health (e.g., Connor-Smith & Flachsbart, 2007; Roberts, Kuncel, Shiner, Caspi, & Goldberg, 2007). This rejuvenation was due in large part to several, relatively correlated historical influences including, the heightened statuses of health psychology and behavioral medicine as distinct disciplines, as well as advances in research methodology and computerized statistical technology (e.g., Optimal Data Analysis; Yarnold & Soltysik, 2005, respectively). Findings that traditional risk factors do not fully account for the variability in disease outcome, and developments in theory and research on the Type A Behavior Pattern (TABP) and trait Hardiness, also contributed to the resurgence (e.g., Jamal, 2005; Maddi, 2007).
The field of trait psychology has also witnessed the emergence and ongoing refinement of several dispositional or trait factor models such as the Five-Factor Model (FFM: Costa & McCrae, 1995), the Psychoticism-Extraversion-Neuroticism Model (PEN: e.g., Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985), the HEXACO Model (e.g., Lee & Ashton, 2008), and the 16-Personality Factors Model (16PF: Cattell & Mead, 2008), all of which have been instrumental in several health related research contexts. One trait variable, common to each of these models and which serve as the focus of this research, is extraversion, a predictor of psychophysiological functioning, health and illness, as well as a host of other socio-behavioral phenomena.