Chronic illnesses, which include autoimmune diseases, can have a major impact on an individual’s mental health. However, individuals vary considerably, and understanding how these differences impact an individual’s mental health outcome is crucial for developing best practices in psychology. The Health Belief Model (HBM) states that multiple components, including personality, influence peoples’ perception of their life and ultimately their behavior. The HBM can be applied to how individuals behave regarding their autoimmune diseases. Previous studies have found that personality impacts mental health as well as various characteristics and perceptions of autoimmune diseases, and that mental health and chronic helath conditions can impact one another. However, since these studies have looked at these components separately, there is a lack of research on how personality impacts the relationship between mental health and having an autoimmune disease. It was hypothesized that testing high on neuroticism will result in greater feelings of helplessness whereas extroversion will have the opposite effect. Also, it was predicted that being more conscientious and open to experiences will result in less stress when experiencing a flare of an autoimmune disease. Using the Big Five Personality Test, the Perceived Stress Scale, and the Illness Cognition Questionnaire these relationships were observed in college-aged individuals. Participants were surveyed on the components of their personality (extroversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness). In addition, participants were asked about how they felt towards their autoimmune disease. Overall, it is expected that individuals with autoimmune disease do experience both disease related helplessness and stress and that these factors are further amplified by being neurotic and introverted and diminished by being conscientious and open to new experiences.
Lindert, Natasha, "Personality Traits Influencing the Psychological Impact of Autoimmune Diseases in College Students and Older Adults" (2021). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 458.