Compulsive behaviors almost always have an emotional or psychological component.
June 29, 2021
Bad habits are notoriously hard to break – that’s why they’re called habits, after all. Ask any dieter, smoker, or shopping addict why they continue to engage in a behavior that they know is not good for them, and they’ll likely respond with a shrug and a look of utter helplessness. The problem is that whatever pleasure or comfort giving in to the habit may bring, it is short-lived. Moreover, according to research from PsychTests.com, people who engage in such compulsive behaviors are more likely to struggle with a number of deeper emotional issues.
Analyzing data collected from 12,259 people who took the Emotional Intelligence Test, PsychTests’ researchers compared people who engage in compulsive habits (“Habit-Engagers”) to those who don’t (“Habit-Resisters”). Here’s how the two groups compared:
Habit-Engagers scored lower on a number of emotional intelligence competencies, including the following:
(Note: Scores range on a scale from 0 to 100)
- Comfort with emotional situations or people – score of 47 vs. 69 for Habit-Resisters, a 22-point difference.
- Emotional control – score of 39 vs. 74 for Habit-Resisters, a 35-point difference.
- Self-motivation – score of 52 vs. 77 for Habit-Resisters, a 25-point difference.
- Self-awareness – score of 56 vs. 76 for Habit-Resisters, a 20-point difference.
- Coping skills – score of 61 vs. 79 for Habit-Resisters, an 18-point difference.
- Resilience – score of 61 vs. 82 for Habit-Resisters, a 21-point difference.
- Self-esteem – score of 50 vs. 80 for Habit-Resisters, a 30-point difference.
- Positive mindset – score of 52 vs. 77 for Habit-Resisters, a 26-point difference.
- Contentment – score of 47 vs. 75 for Habit-Resisters, a 28-point difference.
- Tendency to ruminate excessively – score of 67 vs. 30 for Habit-Resisters, a 37-point difference.
PsychTests study also revealed that:
- 59% of Habit-Engagers are very sensitive to criticism (compared to 20% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 39%).
- 49% feel like they’re on a constant emotional roller coaster (compared to 10% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 39%).
- 59% are terrified of the future (compared to 18% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 41%).
- 38% are never satisfied with what they’ve achieved (compared to 16% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 22%).
- 39% perceive their lives as being one problem after another (compared to 8% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 31%).
- 55% constantly doubt themselves (compared to 10% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 45%).
- 46% do not like change (compared to 14% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 32%).
- 41% are ashamed of how they look or behave (compared to 4% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 37%).
- 46% dwell on failures, rejections, or disappointments (compared to 10% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 36%).
- 43% harshly insult or criticize themselves when they mess up (compared to 8% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 35%).
- 71% tend to over-analyze situations and create problems out of nothing (compared to 24% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 47%).
- 48% have been formally diagnosed with depression, or are feeling depressed but have not brought it up with a healthcare or mental health professional (compared to 11% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 37%).
- 56% have been formally diagnosed with anxiety, or are feeling anxious but have not had consulted a healthcare or mental health professional (compared to 18% of Habit-Resisters, a difference of 38%).
“Compulsive behaviors almost always have an emotional or psychological component,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “For example, the basis of a food addiction is not physical hunger – the person eats to fulfill an emotional need, such as a desire for comfort after a stressful experience, or to suppress unpleasant feelings, whether it’s sadness, anxiety, or even boredom. This creates a vicious cycle: bad feelings trigger the bad habit, which triggers more bad feelings, and the pattern continues. And until you’re willing to face the trauma that bred them, you’ll have a difficult time breaking the habit. You’ll also, as our study revealed, struggle with a host of other emotional and psychological issues, such as problems with self-esteem, stress management, and emotional control. Compulsive habits are compulsive for a reason – because you keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”
Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1
To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr
About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com).
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