Do You Have a Healthy Personality? Take This New Psychology Test to Find Out

Psychologists have devised a test to determine whether a person has a healthy personality. Getty Images

Are you warm and open with a willpower of steel? Then congratulations, you probably have a healthy personality, according to psychologists.

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Societal Psychology, a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, sought to define the ideal personality. They then devised a test so individuals could find out how healthy their perception and experience of the world really is.

Their work was based on the long-standing "big five" personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Researchers also used a personality system called the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, which outlines 30 subcategories of the "big five."

Past research suggests that peoples' balance of these traits can predict the quality of their mental and physical health, the quality of their relationships, self-esteem levels, academic performance and success at work.

Related: Psychopaths can't tell if a person is genuinely sad or afraid, study suggests

To define a healthy personality, the researchers consulted over 200 psychologists, mainly those who specialize in the field, and asked them to consider the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. More than 500 psychology students at two public universities in Michigan and Texas provided ratings.

The team then collected data on 3,000 people across seven groups, created a personality profile for each individual and compared this with the verdicts of the experts.

A high score on the health personality index indicated a person was "psychologically well-adjusted, had high self-esteem, good self-regulatory skills, an optimistic outlook on the world, and a clear and stable self-view," the authors wrote.

Those who performed well on the test were self-sufficient, not aggressive or mean, unlikely to exploit others and were not easily affected by stress. Resisting impulses was easier for this group, too, as was the ability to stay focused.

The study's lead author, Wiebke Bleidorn, director of the Personality Change Lab and an associate professor of psychology at UC Davis, said, "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 adaptation and functioning.

"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 health personality functioning," Bleidorn said.

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The study is the latest deep dive by psychologists into the quirks of human behavior. Earlier this year, a separate team published a study on psychopathy, concluding those on this spectrum find it harder to tell the difference between genuine and fake emotions.

Study author Amy Dawel, who is with Australian National University's Research School of Psychology, said at the time, "For most people, if we see someone who is genuinely upset, you feel bad for them and it motivates you to help them. People who are very high on the psychopathy spectrum don't show this response."

The results were published in the journal Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.