Trait Theory and Anxiety Disorders

A trait can be considered as a unique way in which a person perceives, believes feels or acts. When we are requested to give a description of a certain person, we are most likely going to use their traits. The same case applies to when a person is asked to describe himself or herself in terms of their personalities, the typical thing that comes into their minds is to give a description about themselves in terms of their personality traits embodied in them.  A person may be considered as nervous, laid back, retiring or highly sociable. According to studies carried out by Griggs (2010), the differences in individuals in relation to their personalities is inevitable because they end up applying the same methodologies and approaches that describe a set of traits that are sure to be employed in capturing the differences in people. Despite the existence of numerous models of personality trait in use currently, their differences arise when looking at the core traits in individuals. The common version that was created by two researchers McCrae and Costa, the "five factor model" and Goldberg separately embodies the core traits that have been agreed on by many personality theorists (Wiggins, 2007).

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According to Griggs (2010) all theorists interested with the study of personality are interested with traits. They consider traits as the unit cells that define a person and make that person who she or he is. Traits to them are the relatively permanent and irreplaceable aspects of every one of us that is exhibited and proved by our interactions with one another. Anxiety can be used to describe a person. The trait approach to personality seems to be different from the other theories studying personality in a number of ways (Hollandsworth, 2008).  For instance, while a number of personality theories tend to lay emphasis on understanding and comprehending how personality develops, trait theory does not lay emphasis on this, in fact it touches so little about the development of personality. Secondly, the trait theory of personality does not try to predict a person's behavior like most personality theories try to do. In addition to this, the trait theory of personality lays a lot of emphasis on comparing people not only by the use of their aspects but also in relation to their degrees and then lastly, unlike other theories, trait theory of personality does not inherently bring to our attention a medium of changes in personality (Wiggins, 2007).

All human beings in one time of their lives have experienced anxiety of one form or the other. Majority of us will concur with the fact that despite the anxiety not being so severe that a diagnosis would be warranted for, we have experienced it in different degrees (Collins & Levitt, 2009).  Anxiety is considered as an alert signal or a warning signal. When a person experiences anxiety, it is assumed to be related directly to harm or fear. In addition to this, when on is faced with a physical threat to his or her well being, what we are logically going to do is respond to the situation. The response will either be physical or psychological. This response that will be exhibited automatically has been referred to as either fight or flight response because a person is either activated to defend or flee from the place that has led to the formation of anxiety.  When a person is anxious, the flight or fight response can save a person's life in a life threatening situation. Anxiety disorders can be categorized to various categories. Some of the anxiety disorders that people will tend to suffer from are panic disorders, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic disorder and various specific disorders. In this paper we are going to look at post traumatic stress as a form of anxiety disorder and how it can be used to describe a person's trait.

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In our current society that we would like to believe is civilized; people are not scared of physical threats and their safety, what we are often faced with however are problems that tend to make our lives more complicated. These are the problems that pose threats to us. An anxiety such as post traumatic stress (PTSD) is considered as an emotional illness that results and is associated to life threatening and terrible experiences that can be considered as life threatening. Those suffering from PSTD are said to re experience traumatic events in some way and try to avoid those things that may be associated with these scary experiences. People with this disorder may avoid individuals, places or things that are attached to their ordeals. PTSD was diagnosed as a disorder in 1980 and before this, this anxiety disorder was known by different names such as soldier's heart, combat fatigue, gross stress reaction and post Vietnam syndrome for those soldiers who exhibited these symptoms and hand attended the war in Vietnam.

The disorder has in other occasions been termed to as shell shock or battle fatigue. From the numerous name this disorder has been referred to, there is one clear thing about it, most of the people who suffered from it had been in army and had fought in one war or the other. Statistics in the US have indicated that around 7-8 percent of its citizens are likely to suffer from this illness during their life times. The percentage increases to veterans and victims of rape to around 10-30 %. In addition to this, the disorder is more prevalent on African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics, as compared to the Caucasian Americans. The reason for this is the dissociation that tends to exist among the minorities before and after the traumatic experience (Hollandsworth, 2008).  

A person may be considered to be anxious, and this may be used to describe the person's trait. Anxiety communicates to us of a problem, in addition to this, we develop ways through which we can respond to this problem and solve it. Solving the problem is driven by the urge of wanting the problem to go. Without anxiety, the motivation to solve problems will not be there. Anxiety will be termed to as a disorder only if a person experiences severe anxiety (Hollandsworth, 2008). On the other hand, anxiety that is considered normal does not elicit psychological tantrums because all people experience this form of anxiety. If a person experiences an anxiety that never goes away, this can also be classified as anxiety disorder and it normally interferes with a person's problem solving mechanisms. Problems related to anxiety are very common within the US. It is argued that very many people do visit their physicians with anxiety related complications.

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The prevalence of people visiting their physicians varies with type and the veterans tend to have the highest percentage of people suffering from anxiety. Without anxiety, Collins & Levitt (2009) says that people would not be motivated to solve problems that arise. This implies that problems are solved due to the anxiety they tend to elicit. People are motivated to respond to problems only through the anxiety they face. In addition to military combat, Hollandsworth (2008) asserts that serious accidents, terrorists' attacks, being held hostage, violent deaths, both natural and man made disasters and violent assaults such as robbery and mugging can bring about PTSD. People suffering from PTSD will release these experiences in form of flashbacks and nightmares and in very many occasions, they may experience difficulties sleeping, concentrating and they may feel detached and isolated.

There is a high correlation of human beings and how they perceive reality. The perception of the world is very different from person to person and it is these perceptions that make up a person's core character. In other instances, the perception of a person may differ insignificantly throughout a person's life because most of them are inherent. The issue of anxiety comes into play to alert a person of the incoming danger and prepare him adequately to respond to it (Collins & Levitt, 2009). The genes inherited are responsible for people acting in malicious ways and anxious. The range of perception f the traits may vary from one person. Others will exhibit low and weak perceptions while others may posses opposite traits.

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