Health specific traits beyond the Five Factor Model, cognitive processes and trait expression: replies to Watson (2012), Matthews (2012) and Haslam, Jetten, Reynolds, and Reicher (2012)
Ferguson, Eamonn and Ward, Jane W. and Skatova, Anya and Cassaday, Helen J. and Bibby, Peter A. and Lawrence, Claire (2013) Health specific traits beyond the Five Factor Model, cognitive processes and trait expression: replies to Watson (2012), Matthews (2012) and Haslam, Jetten, Reynolds, and Reicher (2012). Health Psychology Review, 7 (Supple). S85-S103. ISSN 1743-7199
In this article we reply to the issues raised by the three commentaries on Ferguson's (2012) article. Watson argues that the four traits identified by Ferguson (2012) – health anxiety, alexithymia, empathy and Type D – do not lie outside the Five Factor Model (FFM). We present factor analytic data showing that health anxiety forms a separate factor from positive and negative affectivity, alexithymia forms a factor outside the FFM and while emotional empathy loads with agreeableness, cognitive empathy forms a separate factor outside the FFM. Across these analyses there was no evidence for a general factor of personality. We also show that health anxiety, empathic facets and alexithymia show incremental validity over FFM traits. However, the evidence that Type D lies outside the FFM is less clear. Matthews (2012) argues that traits have a more distributed influence on cognitions and that attention is not part of Ferguson's framework. We agree; but Ferguson's original statement concerned where traits have their maximal effect. Finally, Haslam et al. suggest that traits should be viewed from a dynamic interactionist perspective. This is in fact what Ferguson (2012) suggested and we go on to highlight that traits can also influence group processes.
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