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the characteristic way that a person thinks, feels, and behaves; the relatively stable and predictable part of a person's thought and behavior; it includes conscious attitudes, values, and styles as well as unconscious conflicts and defense mechanisms. Personality traits are simple features of normal and abnormal personalities. Personality types are categories applicable to both normal and abnormal personalities; usually they belong to a coherent typology, such as introvert/extrovert or oral/anal/phallic.
Early Life and Personality. The newborn comes into the world completely dependent on others for satisfying individual basic human needs. Feelings of security in a relationship with the mother, or an adequate substitute, is the cornerstone of mental health in later years.

As children develop, they need to learn and to meet the day-to-day problems of life, and to master them. In resolving these challenges, one chooses solutions from many possibilities. Psychologists have studied how these choices are made and use technical terms to describe them, such as repression and sublimation. The behavior patterns chosen result in certain character traits which will influence a child's way of meeting the world—whether the child will lead or follow, be conscientious or reckless, imitate his or her parents or prefer to be as different from them as possible, or take a realistic, flexible path between these extremes. The sum total of these traits represents the personality.
The Well-Adjusted Personality. A well-adjusted individual is one who adapts to surroundings. If adaptation is not possible, the individual makes realistic efforts to change the situation, using personal talents and abilities constructively and successfully. The well-adjusted person is realistic and able to face facts whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, and deals with them instead of merely worrying about them or denying them. Well-adjusted mature persons are independent. They form reasoned opinions and then act on them. They seek a reasonable amount of information and advice before making a decision, and once the decision is made, they are willing to face the consequences of it. They do not try to force others to make decisions for them. An ability to love others is typical of the well-adjusted individual. In addition, the mature well adjusted person is also able to enjoy receiving love and affection and can accept a reasonable dependence on others.
alternating personality multiple personality disorder.
cyclothymic personality a temperament characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods; see also cyclothymic disorder.
personality disorders a group of mental disorders characterized by enduring, inflexible, and maladaptive personality traits that deviate markedly from cultural expectations, pervade a broad range of situations, and are either a source of subjective distress or a cause of significant impairment in social, occupational, or other functioning. In general, they are difficult both to diagnose and to treat.

Although individuals with a personality disorder can function in day-to-day life, they are hampered both emotionally and psychologically by the maladaptive nature of their disorder, and their chances of forming good relationships and fulfilling their potentialities are poor. In spite of their problems, these patients refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong and insist that it is the rest of the world that is out of step. Very often their behavior is extremely annoying to those around them.

Personality disorders result from unresolved conflicts, often dating back to childhood. To alleviate the anxiety and depression that accompany these conflicts, the ego uses defense mechanisms. Although defense mechanisms are not pathological in themselves, they become maladaptive in individuals with personality disorders.

The category includes: antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. Distinguishing one disorder from another can be difficult because the various traits can occur in more than one disorder. For example, patients with borderline personality disorder and those with narcissistic personality disorder both may have a tendency to angry outbursts and may be hindered in forming interpersonal relationships because they often exploit, idealize, or devalue others. The symptoms of a personality disorder may also occur as features of another mental disorder. More than one personality disorder can exist in the same person.

Because patients refuse to admit that there is anything wrong, personality disorders are more difficult to treat than other mental disorders. However, a great deal can be done in many cases, if the therapist can break through a patient's defense mechanisms and help the patient resolve the underlying conflict.
double personality (dual personality) dissociative identity disorder.
hysterical personality former name for histrionic personality disorder.
multiple personality a dissociative disorder in which an individual adopts two or more personalities alternately. See multiple personality disorder.
split personality an obsolete term formerly used colloquially to refer to either schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder.


1. The unique self, the totality of someone's conscious and unconscious cognition and interpersonal behavior and related emotional responses; the sum of the integrated and unintegrated personality traits used by an individual to relate to others.
2. Someone with a particular personality pattern.


/per·so·nal·i·ty/ (per″sah-nal´ĭ-te) the characteristic, relatively stable, and predictable way a person thinks, feels, and behaves, including conscious attitudes, values, and styles, and also unconscious conflicts and defense mechanisms.
antisocial personality (disorder)  a personality disorder characterized by continuous and chronic antisocial behavior in which the rights of others or generally accepted social norms are violated.
avoidant personality (disorder)  a personality disorder characterized by social discomfort, hypersensitivity to criticism, low self-esteem, and an aversion to activities that involve significant interpersonal contact.
borderline personality (disorder)  a personality disorder marked by a pervasive instability of mood, self-image, and interpersonal relationships, with fears of abandonment, chronic feelings of emptiness, threats, anger, and self-damaging behavior.
cyclothymic personality  a temperament characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods.
dependent personality (disorder)  a personality disorder marked by an excessive need to be taken care of, with submissiveness and clinging, feelings of helplessness when alone, and preoccupation with fears of being abandoned.
depressive personality (disorder)  a persistent and pervasive pattern of depressive cognitions and behaviors, such as unhappiness, low self-esteem, pessimism, critical and derogatory attitudes, guilt or remorse, and an inability to relax or feel enjoyment.
histrionic personality (disorder)  a personality disorder marked by excessive emotionality and attention-seeking behavior.
multiple personality (disorder)  dissociative identity disorder.
narcissistic personality (disorder)  a personality disorder characterized by grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), lack of social empathy combined with hypersensitivity to the judgments of others, interpersonal exploitativeness, a sense of entitlement, and a need for constant signs of admiration.
obsessive-compulsive personality (disorder)  a personality disorder characterized by an emotionally constricted manner that is unduly rigid, stubborn, perfectionistic, and stingy, with preoccupation with trivial details, overconcern with having everything done one's own way, excessive devotion to work and productivity, and overconscientiousness.
paranoid personality (disorder)  a personality disorder marked by a view of other people as hostile, devious, and untrustworthy and a combative response to disappointments or to events experienced as rebuffs or humiliations.
passive-aggressive personality (disorder)  a personality disorder characterized by indirect resistance to demands for adequate social or occupational performance and by negative, defeatist attitudes.
sadistic personality (disorder)  a pervasive pattern of cruel, demeaning, and aggressive behavior; satisfaction is gained from intimidating, coercing, hurting, and humiliating others.
schizoid personality (disorder)  a personality disorder marked by indifference to social relationships and restricted range of emotional experience and expression.
schizotypal personality (disorder)  a personality disorder characterized by marked deficits in interpersonal competence and eccentricities in ideation, appearance, or behavior.
self-defeating personality (disorder)  a persistent pattern of behavior detrimental to the self, including being drawn to problematic situations or relationships and failing to accomplish tasks crucial to life objectives.
split personality  an obsolete term formerly used colloquially for either schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder.


n. pl. personali·ties
a. The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific person.
b. The totality of behavioral traits that are peculiar to a specific nonhuman animal: a hyena with an assertive personality.
c. The totality of qualities that distinguish a group, organization, or place: The personality of the business changed dramatically over the years.


Etymology: L, personalis, role
1 the composite of the behavioral traits and attitudinal characteristics by which one is recognized as an individual.
2 the behavior pattern each person develops, both consciously and unconsciously, as a means of adapting to a particular environment and its cultural, ethnic, national, and provincial standards.


The behavioural and mental traits which distinguish human beings from each other.


Psychiatry The distinctive attributes of a person or characteristic manner of thinking, feeling, behaving; the ingrained pattem of behavior that each person evolves, consciously and unconsciously, lifestyle, way of being in adapting to the environment Traits/'superfactors' of personality
1. Extraversion–eg, positive emotionality.
2. Neuroticism–eg, negative emotionality.
3. Conscientiousness–eg, constraint.
4. Agreeableness–eg, aggression.
5. Openness–eg, absorption. See Borderline personality, Cancer-prone personality, Explosive personality, Multiple personality, Obsessive-compulsive personality, Type A personality, Type B personality.


1. The unique self; the organized system of attitudes and behavioral predispositions by which one feels, thinks, acts, and impresses and establishes relationships with others.
2. An individual with a particular personality pattern.


The totality of a person's mental and behavioural characteristics as modified by experience and education. Personality defines a unique, recognizable individual and is developed as a result of the interaction of the inherited elements and the life-time environment.


The organized pattern of behaviors and attitudes that makes a human being distinctive. Personality is formed by the ongoing interaction of temperament, character, and environment.
Mentioned in: Personality Disorders


the totality of behavioural, psychological and emotional characteristics that make a person an individual. See also big five, trait.


Unique self, totality of someone's conscious and unconscious cognition and interpersonal behavior and related emotional responses.


n 1. the sum total of a patient's ideas, emotions, and behavior, including the rational and irrational, the conscious and unconscious, and the defensive and learned behavior patterns. It develops from both genetic factors and environmental factors. Thus the patient brings to a dental office an individual personality syndrome. It may be a well-adjusted, stable personality; a depressed, anxious, neurotic personality; or a manic, schizophrenic, psychotic personality. Patients have a broad spectrum of healthy and disordered personalities.
n 2. the characteristics of a person by which other people evaluate him or her.
personality assessment,
n See personality test.
personality disorder,
n a disruption in relatedness manifested in any of a large group of mental disorders characterized by rigid, inflexible, and maladaptive behavior patterns that impair a person's ability to function in society.
personality test,
n a standardized test used in the evaluation of various facets of personality structure, emotional status, and behavioral traits.


that which constitutes, distinguishes and characterizes an animal as an entity over a period of time; the total reaction of an animal to its environment. Many factors that determine personality are inherited; they are shaped and modified by the animal's environment.

Patient discussion about personality

Q. Do you personally know anyone that's autistic? Right, I agree 1 in 150 is diagnosed with autism. Do you personally know anyone that's autistic?

A. Yes as per the latest statistics in U.S it is 1 out of 150 of kids born has autism. I know 5 kids, all friends of family; all moms were on fertility drugs to get pg. Very sad. Two of the kids are twins and besides being autistic they have cerebral palsy.

Q. Alcoholism becomes a habit in person? How does alcoholism becomes a habit in person?

A. If you think about alcohol all the time and you need it to feel good then it's a problem. If it's just a rare but pleasant action then there is no big disaster.
It may be a problem if the alcohol being the cause of depending (physical or corporial it is not just the same!)

Q. How can persons with autism learn best? The person with autism can’t concentrate on studies? How can persons with autism learn best?

A. Where have you read such a misguiding message? No one can say that the person with autism can’t concentrate on studies. They can be trained through specially-trained teachers, using specially structured programs that emphasize individual instruction; persons with autism can learn to function at home and in the community. Some can lead nearly normal lives.

More discussions about personality
References in periodicals archive ?
Findings can be shared with family in order to provide them information about the role of parents and family environment in the development of their children's personality.
The present research was designed: (1) to examine differences in perceived parental attitude and dependency in children's personality disposition and (2) to see the relationship between perceived parental rejection and dependency in children's personality disposition.
Dependency in children's personality was measured by one of the sub-scale (i.
It is important to consider family structure and child-rearing practices and cultural desirability in Pakistan to fully understand the relation between perceived parental rejection and dependency in children's personality organization.
The narratives reflected that the parents had some common experience attributions of their children's personality differences.
Parents' apperceptions of children's personality differences seem to be assimilated and transformed by their past experiences.
This study explored parents understandings of their children's personality differences, focusing on birth order but addition of some significant influences could have contributed towards an in depth analysis and further understanding.
In contrast to the above findings about the role of parents' gender and their perception of children's behavior, when examined parents' perceptions of their children's personality characteristics were examined in relation to children's abilities and interests in math, reading, music, sports and social activities, thus focusing on a wide range of abilities and behaviors.

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