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Personality and Illness

  1. Kenneth B. Matheny1,
  2. Roy M. Kern2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0661

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Matheny, K. B. and Kern, R. M. 2010. Personality and Illness. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Georgia State University

  2. 2

    Vytautus Magnus University, Lithuania

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The belief that some personalities may predispose persons to illness has had a long history. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote around 400 b.c., “There is no illness apart from the mind.” Perhaps with a bit of exaggeration, the ancient English physician, Parry of Bath, wrote: “It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than what sort of disease a person has.” In 1917, Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, maintained that one's lifestyle—that is, an organized set of beliefs about oneself and the world—determines both the onset and severity of certain physical illnesses or disabilities.


  • personality;
  • personality types;
  • illness;
  • and injury