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Is Enneagram Personality System Able to Predict Perceived Risk of Heart Disease

Actualizado: oct 30

Background: Studying personality traits and patterns is of significant importance in adopting healthy behaviors. Therefore, the current study investigates the relationship between Enneagram personality types and perceived risk of heart disease and readiness to lifestyle modification. Methods: In this cross‐sectional study, 190 noncardiac patients (82.3% female) in an outpatient clinic in western Iran were selected using a simple random sampling method to fill out standard questionnaires. The obtained data were analyzed using Pearson’s correlation coefficient and linear regression analysis. Results: The findings show that the performer personality (Type 3) can directly predict increasing readiness to lifestyle modification (P < 0.001). In contrast, there is a reverse significant relationship between the challenger personality (Type 8) and readiness to lifestyle modification (P = 0.019). Moreover, the helper personality (Type 6) is able to directly predict increasing the perceived risk of heart disease (P = 0.012). Conclusions: In the Enneagram system, unique personality types possess a unique risk perception and readiness to adopt healthy behaviors. The results of the current study can provide valuable information for healthy lifestyle programs professionals with regard to preventing cardiovascular diseases.


Introduction Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are among the most significant health challenges in the current century, and they are the main reason behind the mortality of people in many countries around the world.[1] In Iran, about 15 million people are suffering from the illnesses and among every 100,000 CVDs reported in the country, 167 cases result in fatality.[2] Despite the fact that the cardiovascular mortality rate has significantly decreased since 2011,[3] the prevalence rate of CVDs and the deaths caused by them is still increasing among the population of developing countries.[4,5] According to recent reports, underestimating [6] the cardiovascular risk factors, poor [7] risk perception of heart problems, and adopting an unhealthy lifestyle[8] are among the main reasons behind the increase in the risk of CVDs. Perception of cardiovascular risk plays an important role in preventing CVDs through increasing the readiness for lifestyle modification.[9] Adopting an unhealthy lifestyle, particularly smoking, eating fatty foods, lack of physical activity, and industrial lifestyle patterns have increased the prevalence of CVDs. Despite this, a wide range of vulnerable populations does not possess readiness to change their unhealthy behaviors and to modify their lifestyle. Based on the transtheoretical model or stages of behavior change, readiness for modifying lifestyle involves five stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.[11]

So far, various scientific studies have focused on the role of the above‐mentioned components in increasing cardiovascular risk. Despite this, the factors affecting the perception of cardiovascular risk and the determinants of readiness for modifying lifestyle have not attracted a sufficient attention. Previously, the potential role of the family history of CVDs, taking controlling fat and antihypertensive drugs, diabetes, smoking, lack of physical activity, and obesity in the risk perception of the diseases has been evaluated.[12] Moreover, previous studies show that readiness to modify unhealthy lifestyle is influenced by factors such as perceived stress and self‐efficacy,[11] actual risk factors,[13] and depressive symptoms.[14] Nevertheless, it seems that there are other factors involved in increased perception of cardiovascular risk and readiness to lifestyle modification, which have not attracted ample attention. Personality is one of the potential variables which can be considered in evaluating a wide range of behaviors.[15]

Personality has always been studied by scholars from various perspectives and so far, various personality models have been proposed. While studying normal populations, common approaches, including the five‐factor model, have been used more often. This emphasizes the necessity to focus on those models which have garnered less attention. The Enneagram personality system is one of these models which can provide an accurate map of the psychological structure of an individual.[16] According to this model, various personalities are metaphors for the active mental functions of individuals. This system divides individuals into nine personality types. The main personality of an individual toward his or her surrounding has both defensive and adaptive aspects, leading the individual to tend toward one of the nine personality types. The other eight personality types, which are less evolved during an individual’s lifetime, indicate the latent talents of the individual and contain important parts of an individual’s identity.[16]

Since each one of the personality types has its own characteristics and coping mechanisms against stress and anxiety, it is likely that some personality types are more eager to perceive cardiovascular risk and have higher levels of readiness to modify their lifestyle. Despite the fact that the role of the Enneagram system in stress and developmental level,[17] improving depression,[18] creating insight,[19] and knowing oneself [20] has been studied in nonclinical populations, there have been too few studies on the relationship between this system and CVDs.[21] To bridge this research gap, the current study has been carried out to evaluate the role of the Enneagram personality system in predicting the perceived risk of heart disease and readiness to lifestyle modification. If you want to read more, find below the complete article:

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