Investigation of William H. Sheldon’s Constitutional Theory of Personality: A Case Study of the University of the Gambia

Igharo O Kenneth, Bakke M. Matthew


Constitutional psychology, the theory put forth by Sheldon, refers to "the study of the psychological aspects of human behaviour as they are related to the morphology and physiology of the body." In the face of indifference or hostility to the possibility of important associations between structural and behavioural characteristics, the work of William H. Sheldon stands as a unique contribution on the contemporary scene. In general, it seems fair to say that African psychologists have tacitly less attention to the study of this important class of variables having to do with the physical description of the body. Now, it is adapted to the African Culture and environment; thus this forms the significant basis of this study. So, it is the purpose of this study to specifically ascertain the culture - environmental applicability of Sheldon’s theory on personality traits in Africa. Two hypotheses drawn as follows were tested to measure relationships and differences between the body types and personality traits of individuals in the African culturally influenced community or environment. In this study we shall attempt to place Sheldon's work in brief historical perspective and then describe his formulations and investigations. A quantitative survey design was applied, with a validated 36 - item questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to 242 (two hundred and forty two) University of The Gambia students by stratified sampling technique based on body types (whether endomorph, mesomorph or ectomorph). The physical body type an individual possesses has an influence on the behaviour or personality of that individual, as posited by Sheldon’s constitutional theory. This was confirmed, even when applied in the African society specifically in The Gambia, by this study.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n7p85

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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