Persistence (psychology)

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Persistence(PS) is a key personality trait identified by psychiatrist C. Robert Cloninger in his Psychobiological Model of Personality.[1] It describes an individual's propensity to remain motivated, resilient and goal-driven in the face of challenges and difficulties they may encounter whilst carrying out tasks and working towards goals. More precisely, persistence refers to “perseverance in spite of fatigue or frustration”.[2] According to Cloninger, this perseverance demonstrates a psychological determination that is foundational in aiding an individual's long-term success in achieving goals.

Background[edit]

C. Robert Cloninger outlined his model of personality by distinguishing between what he described as temperament and character traits. Temperament refers to genetically based differences in a range of behavioural and emotional characteristics which emerge early in an individual’s life.[3] Initially, the model comprised three temperament dimensions: Novelty seeking(NS), harm avoidance(HM) and reward dependence (RD).[2] However, upon the application of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire(TPQ), the first tool designed to measure these three dimensions, Cloninger determined that the existing subscale for Reward Dependence, 'persistence', was significantly distinct from each of these dimensions.[4] Hence, persistence is now considered one of the four individually inherited temperament traits.[5]

This model was further adjusted to include three supplementary dimensions of character, which are experience-acquired traits that develop over a lifetime: cooperativeness (CO), self-transcendence(SF), and self-directedness(SD).[5] Together with the four temperament dimensions, these character traits form Cloninger's 7-factor model of personality.

The Genetic and Biological Underpinnings[edit]

This psychobiological model argues that personality is formed through interactions between genetic predispositions that emerge during early life, neurobiological processes and environmental influences (i.e., learning and social influences).[1] Research with twin and family studies supports this claim, finding that persistence, like the other temperament traits, is moderately heritable.[6] For example, twin analyses indicate that approximately 23% of the genetic variance found in TPQ results was specific to persistence. However, this was only the case for women. Whilst PS was also a distinct temperament dimension in men, it could not be concluded that there was a genetic component to this trait.[6]

The original three temperament traits have each been intensively studied and subsequently associated with specific neurotransmitter activity, including dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic systems,[7] whilst there is comparatively limited evidence for the specific neurobiological systems implicated in PS. Despite this, Cloninger hypothesised that persistence is nonetheless shaped by our neurobiology.[8][9] In particular, it is thought to be associated with the dopaminergic neurotransmitter system, which plays a crucial role in drive, goal-oriented behaviour, and reward processing, all key elements to persistence. However, sufficient empirical support for this theory is yet to be provided.[10][11]

Measurement[edit]

Persistence is measured with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). This is a widely utilised assessment tool designed by Cloninger to assess and measure the seven dimensions of personality as previously outlined in his psychobiological personality model.[12] The TCI incorporates neurobiological and environmental components in an attempt to provide an extensive understanding of individual differences in personality and their potential causes. The revised version(TCI-R) contains 240 items and a Likert scale rating system for each statement to measure the traits more precisely[13].

The traits each have subscales. Persistence is assessed using a 35-item scale measuring elements such as perseverance and resolution towards achieving goals and committing to tasks. [13]

The subscales of PS in TCI-R consist of 4 behaviour archetypes associated with the trait:[14]

1. Eagerness of effort (PS1)

Measures attitudes towards putting effort into tasks, particularly when a reward is anticipated.

2. Work hardened (PS2).

Indicates an individual's willingness to expend persisting effort in their tasks or goals.

3. Ambitious (PS3)

Assesses how motivated, goal-focused, aspiring and determined an individual is.

4. Perfectionist (PS4)

Refers to an individual's propensity to set unreasonably high standards and be overly self-critical.

Interpreting Persistence subscale scores[edit]

Scores on the PS subscales provide researchers with a more thorough understanding of an individual's approach to tasks and challenges. Those scoring highly in persistence are understood to remain hardworking, overachieving and committed to their goals in the face of challenges, whilst the inverse can be said for those with low levels of PS.[15]

The following describes the characteristics that individuals who score highly in each of the four subscales are likely to display:[16]

(PS1) Increased efforts in the expectation of rewards and voluntarily taking on new tasks and setting challenges.

(PS2) A strong work ethic and invest a lot of time into succeeding in their endeavours.

(PS3) High standards for themselves, discipline and relentlessness in reaching their goals.

(PS4) diligence in achieving flawlessness in their projects and meticulous attention to detail.

However, It is important to note that there has been slightly mixed empirical support for Cloninger’s model and his TCI-R as a measure of his personality dimensions.[17]

Relationship of Persistence to other personality models[edit]

Persistence (as measured using the TCI-R) has been related to various dimensions within other psychological personality models:

A study comparing the Temperament and Character Inventory to the Five-Factor Model of personality found that persistence is substantially positively associated with facets of conscientiousness,[18] a trait describing how disciplined, organised and responsible(or norm-abiding) an individual is. Those high in PS were also likely to display high levels of conscientiousness, with particular emphasis on the elements of perfectionism and diligence.

Research also found that persistence is positively correlated with the Activity scale, a component within the sensation-seeking dimension of Zuckerman's Alternative Five Personality model.[18] The activity scale in the Zuckerman Personality Questionnaire(ZKPQ) measures an individual's tendency to relentlessly pursue mentally and physically stimulating or challenging tasks, behaviours which are associated with Persistence.[18]

Additionally, studies indicated that PS is negatively correlated with psychoticism(P) in Eysenck's model.[19] This dimension describes an individual's tendency to behave in irresponsible, aggressive, impulsive, and norm-violating manners, traits which are not present in those who display high levels of persistence.[19]

Improving persistence[edit]

Research into Cloninger's model of personality lends insight into the individual differences in persistence and an understanding of its implications across various daily contexts. For example, studies using the TCI identified persistence as an adaptive trait that assists individuals in achieving success in their education, employment, and general well-being.[20]These findings have, therefore, been applied to the clinical field, providing a foundation for the development of psychiatric techniques designed to increase persistent tendencies such as motivation, perseverance and discipline, which some individuals may have difficulty with.

Researchers investigated two types of action for improving persistence:

[1] "logic-of-consequence," where you try to become more aware of the expected positive outcomes of persevering to motivate yourself to persist. These interventions can encourage individuals to think in terms of the benefits/rewards of being persistent in their tasks and goals. For example, they may tell themselves: 'If I try harder, I will get good grades'. Studies have found that they can have beneficial effects on academic achievement among students with poor performance.[21]

[2] "logic-of-appropriateness", in which you see persevering as coherent with your self-image as a persistent person. Here, an individual considers what behaviours are appropriate given their identity or how a goal-oriented person would behave, leaning into the identity of a persistent/motivated/diligent person to encourage it within themselves. Studies investigating role-playing interventions provided evidence that this technique enhances effort and discipline.[21]

See also[edit]

  • Continence – Aspect of inhibitory control
  • Courage – Ability to deal with fear
  • Endurance – Ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time
  • Grit – Psychological concept
  • Psychological resilience – Ability to mentally cope with a crisis
  • Sisu – Finnish concept

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gillespie, N.A., Cloninger, C.Robert., Heath, A.C. and Martin, N.G. (2003). The genetic and environmental relationship between Cloninger’s dimensions of temperament and character. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(8), pp.1931–1946. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/s0191-8869(03)00042-4.
  2. ^ a b Cloninger, C.R., Svrakic, D.M. and Przybeck, T.R. (1993). A psychobiological model of temperament and character. Archives of general psychiatry, [online] 50(12), pp.975–90. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820240059008.
  3. ^ Strelau, J. (2020). Temperament. Encyclopaedia of Personality and Individual Differences, pp.5388–5407. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_446.
  4. ^ Christodoulou, Christopher; Rosen, Jeffrey J. (1995). "Persistence: An Independent Factor of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire". Psychological Reports. 76 (3_suppl): 1307–1314. doi:10.2466/pr0.1995.76.3c.1307. ISSN 0033-2941.
  5. ^ a b Cloninger, C. Robert (1994-01-01). "Temperament and personality". Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 4 (2): 266–273. doi:10.1016/0959-4388(94)90083-3. ISSN 0959-4388. PMID 8038587.
  6. ^ a b Stallings, Michael C.; Hewitt, John K.; Cloninger, C. Robert; Heath, Andrew C.; Eaves, Lindon J. (1996). "Genetic and environmental structure of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire: Three or four temperament dimensions?". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 70 (1): 127–140. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.70.1.127. ISSN 0022-3514. PMID 8558406.
  7. ^ Cloninger, C. R. (1986). "A unified biosocial theory of personality and its role in the development of anxiety states". Psychiatric Developments. 4 (3): 167–226. ISSN 0262-9283. PMID 3809156.
  8. ^ Verweij, Karin J.H.; Zietsch, Brendan P.; Medland, Sarah E.; Gordon, Scott D.; Benyamin, Beben; Nyholt, Dale R.; McEvoy, Brian P.; Sullivan, Patrick F.; Heath, Andrew C.; Madden, Pamela A.F.; Henders, Anjali K.; Montgomery, Grant W.; Martin, Nicholas G.; Wray, Naomi R. (2010). "A genome-wide association study of Cloninger's temperament scales: Implications for the evolutionary genetics of personality". Biological Psychology. 85 (2): 306–317. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.07.018. ISSN 0301-0511. PMC 2963646. PMID 20691247.
  9. ^ Whittle, Sarah; Allen, Nicholas B.; Lubman, Dan I.; Yücel, Murat (2006). "The neurobiological basis of temperament: Towards a better understanding of psychopathology". Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 30 (4): 511–525. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2005.09.003. PMID 16289282.
  10. ^ DeYoung, Colin G. (2013). "The neuromodulator of exploration: A unifying theory of the role of dopamine in personality". Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 7: 762. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00762. ISSN 1662-5161. PMC 3827581. PMID 24294198.
  11. ^ Nyman, Emma S.; Loukola, Anu; Varilo, Teppo; Ekelund, Jesper; Veijola, Juha; Joukamaa, Matti; Taanila, Anja; Pouta, Anneli; Miettunen, Jouko; Freimer, Nelson; Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta; Peltonen, Leena (2009-09-05). "Impact of the dopamine receptor gene family on temperament traits in a population-based birth cohort". American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics. 150B (6): 854–865. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30908. ISSN 1552-4841. PMID 19105202.
  12. ^ Garcia, Danilo; Lester, Nigel; Cloninger, Kevin M.; Robert Cloninger, C. (2017), "Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI)", in Zeigler-Hill, Virgil; Shackelford, Todd K. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1–3, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_91-1, ISBN 978-3-319-28099-8, retrieved 2024-03-20
  13. ^ Farmer, Richard F.; Goldberg, Lewis R. (2008). "A psychometric evaluation of the revised Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-R) and the TCI-140". Psychological Assessment. 20 (3): 281–291. doi:10.1037/a0012934. ISSN 1939-134X. PMC 2810834. PMID 18778164.
  14. ^ Cloninger, C. Robert (1993-12-01). "A Psychobiological Model of Temperament and Character". Archives of General Psychiatry. 50 (12): 975. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820240059008. ISSN 0003-990X.
  15. ^ Cloninger, C. Robert; Zohar, Ada H.; Hirschmann, Schmuel; Dahan, Dana (2012). "The psychological costs and benefits of being highly persistent: Personality profiles distinguish mood disorders from anxiety disorders". Journal of Affective Disorders. 136 (3): 758–766. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2011.09.046. PMID 22036800.
  16. ^ Garcia, Danilo; Moradi, Saleh (2011-10-07). "Adolescents' Temperament and Character: A Longitudinal Study on Happiness". Journal of Happiness Studies. 13 (5): 931–946. doi:10.1007/s10902-011-9300-8. ISSN 1389-4978.
  17. ^ Cloninger, C. Robert (2008). "The psychobiological theory of temperament and character: Comment on Farmer and Goldberg (2008)". Psychological Assessment. 20 (3): 292–299. doi:10.1037/a0012933. ISSN 1939-134X. PMID 18778165.
  18. ^ a b De Fruyt, F; Van De Wiele, L; Van Heeringen, C (2000). "Cloninger's Psychobiological Model of Temperament and Character and the Five-Factor Model of Personality". Personality and Individual Differences. 29 (3): 441–452. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00204-4.
  19. ^ a b Zuckerman, Marvin; Cloninger, C. Robert (1996). "Relationships between Cloninger's, Zuckerman's, and Eysenck's dimensions of personality". Personality and Individual Differences. 21 (2): 283–285. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(96)00042-6. ISSN 0191-8869. PMC 4486314. PMID 26146428.
  20. ^ Moreira, Paulo A. S.; Inman, Richard A.; Cloninger, C. Robert (2023-02-27). "Disentangling the personality pathways to well-being". Scientific Reports. 13 (1): 3353. Bibcode:2023NatSR..13.3353M. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29642-5. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 9969391. PMID 36849800.
  21. ^ a b Tabor, Ellen B. (2016). "Handbook of Self-Regulation: Research, Theory, and ApplicationsEdited by Roy R. Baumeister, Ph.D., and Kathleen D. Vohs, Ph.D., New York, Guilford Press, 2004, 574 pages, $70". Psychiatric Services. 57 (4): 585–586. doi:10.1176/ps.2006.57.4.585a. ISSN 1075-2730 – via The Guilford Press.