Medical excuse making and individual differences in self-assessed health: The unique effects of anxious attachment, trait anxiety, and hypochondriasis

Katherine T. Fortenberry, Deborah J. Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychological processes are critical to understanding self-assessed health. While the literature suggests that motivated or self-enhancing processes contribute to this understanding, such processes have not been adequately explored. In a sample of healthy young adults (n = 271; 49.1% female), we used structural equation modeling to examine whether trait anxiety (TA), hypochondriasis (H), and anxious attachment (AA) relate to self-assessed health through a motivated process of medical excuse-making. When each personality variable was examined individually, medical excuse-making partially mediated its relationship with self-assessed health. When the three individual difference variables were examined simultaneously, medical excuse-making partially mediated the relationship of TA and H with self-assessed health, but AA was no longer related to self-assessed health. All effects remained after statistically controlling reported medical conditions. Results suggest medical excuse-making substantially contributes to self-evaluations of health, particularly among anxiety-prone individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Keywords

  • Anxious attachment
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Mediation between personality and health
  • Self assessed health
  • Self-enhancement
  • Trait anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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