Kraepelins Theoryclassification See Psychopathology Theories Of

KRETSCHMER'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY. = somatotype theory = typology theory. The German psychiatrist Ernst Kret-schmer (1888-1964) devised a theory of personality based on the relationship of physical characteristics to personality attributes. Before Kretschmer's theory appeared, various other viewpoints were advanced by early investigators concerning the association between physical and personality traits. The Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) suggested both a typology of physique and a typology of temperament, as well as indicating the relationships between the body's humors (liquid substances), temperament, and behavior that anticipated the modern importance of endocrine secretions as determinants of behavior. Hippocrates suggested a dichotomy concerning physiques that separated people into those who were "thick and short" versus those who were "thin and long." He also indicated that these body types are accompanied by characteristic diseases and disorders. For example, the first type of person (thick and short) is prone to apoplexy, and the second type (thin and long) is prone to consumption. Kretschmer inaugurated constitutional psychology into the modern era based on observations he made in his psychiatric practice concerning the relationships between physique and manifest behavior, especially the behaviors displayed in manic-depressive psychosis and schizophrenia. As a result of his measurements of physique, Kretschmer described three fundamental types: asthenic - refers to a linear, frail physique (later called leptosomic); athletic - refers to a muscular, wide-shoulder physique; and pyknic - refers to a plump, round-figured physique. A fourth, "mixed" type, dysplastic - referring to a "rare or ugly" physique, was described, also, that applied to a small group of "deviant" cases. Kretschmer related the incidence of physique types to the two kinds of psychosis in his patients and concluded that there was a strong biological affinity between manic-depression and the pyknic body build and a similar association between schizophrenia and the asthenic, athletic, and dysplastic body builds. Criticisms of Kretschmer's theory, in this case, focus on his failure to control adequately for differences in age between manic-depressives and schizophrenics. Thus, the common observation is suggested that with increasing age most people increase in weight and, thereby, are more likely to resemble Kretschmer's pyknic type. Also, inasmuch as manic-depression typically occurs later in life than does schizophrenia, this may account for the particular relationships Kretschmer observed between physique and psychosis. See also GALEN'S DOCTRINE OF THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS; PERSONALITY THEORIES; SHELDON'S TYPE THEORY; TYPE THEORIES OF PERSONALITY.

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