One’s body reflects his character—an enduring belief of people in the past and the inhabitants of the present world. In fifth century B. C. Hippocrates, the Greek physician categorized men into two physical types, phthisic habitus which is long and thin and apoplectic habitus, the short and thick. He suggested that men with the phthisic physique are particularity vulnerable to tuberculosis while apoplectics are proned to diseases of the vascular system; his classification was based on the disease men can acquired.

In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, he described Cassius as “lean and hungry” and Falstaff as “indolent and gluttonous”; his description showed that men can be categorized according to their calorie intake. And in 1940s, Dr. William H. Sheldon introduced the theory of somatotypes. He named his somatotypes after the three germ layers of embryonic development: the endoderm, that develops into the digestive tract, the mesoderm, marked by a well-developed musculature, and the ectoderm which is centered in the nervous system.

In the book Atlas of Men (1954), Sheldon classified the body types of 4,000 college male students of Ivy League according to a scale ranging from 1 to 7. Endomorph is 7-1-1, the mesomorph 1-7-1 and ectomorph scores 1-1-7. This classification became the foundation of psychologists in determining one’s personality. Another theory made by a German psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer affirmed that each type of body has its mental characteristics. He allocated three morphological types in its corresponding temperaments.

Basic types- aesthenic, picnic, athletic. Aesthenic is the counterpart of Sheldon’s ectomorph which described as long and thin. It has shiztotimik temperament which indicates fluctuations in emotions, stubborn and difficulty in adapting to the environment. Picnic, equivalent to Sheldon’s endomorph, a man with disproportionate adipose tissue and characterized by small or medium growth. Picnic figure has tsiklotimik temperament which emotions fluctuate between joy and sorrow, outgoing and realistic views in life.

Athletic or mesomorph, is a man with a muscular, strong physique, characterized by a high or medium height and broad shoulders. It has iksotimik temperament, a restrained gestures and facial expressions. This typology was used by other researchers in a wide variety of participants to assess their personality. One study was made by Richard Walker and his associates which compared different studies on different age level.

They included the study of Davidson on 100 6 and 7-years old nursery school children; study of Hanley on 12 to 14-years old boys;by Glueck on delinquent and non-delinquent boys; and the study of college sophomores by Child and by Cabot who used Kretschmer’s typology. Walker and his team combined these studies into one table and come up to a resemblance of Sheldon’s theory. “The endomorph communicates feelings easily, is confident, shows genital underdevelopment, is described as sensuous and conventional, and so forth.

The mesomorph has explosive rages, is a social leader, looks people right in the eye, withstands pain easily, etc. , while the ectomorph is anxious and has nervous habits, is bashful, prefers few intimate friends to many, is sensitive and aesthetic, and so on. ”(Walker) In “Sheldon’s Physical-psychical Typology Revisited” (1984) Janssen and Whiting took the first order factors underlying Cattell’s extraversion-introversion, and had 100 Dutch university students assign these qualities to photographs of the extreme ectomorph, the extreme mesomorph and the extreme endomorph.

The qualities from Cattell’s Q and E positive poles, that is, self-sufficient, resourceful, prefers own decisions, and assertive, aggressive, stubborn, were associated with the mesomorph, while the qualities of the A and F positive poles, warm-hearted, outgoing, easygoing, participating and enthusiastic, heedless, happy-go-lucky, were related most strongly to the endomorph, while the characteristics of the H negative pole, shy, timid, restrained, threat-sensitive, were associated with the ectomorph. What emerged is something similar to Sheldon’s basic somatotype diagram.

Through these studies, personality is obtained by certain scale or tests. Some results are anonymous to the participant. Participants are judged according to their body types. Thus, self-concept is needed to verify unknown characteristics. Studies of Larry Tucker and Samuel Salokun and colleague Abel Toriola showed the correlation of somatotype and self concept. Tucker used Tennessee Self-concept Scale to assess multiple dimensions of self-concept in 284 college males and Perceived Somatotype Scale was used to assess three indices of somatotype.

MANOVA revealed significant differences in global self-concept among the self-perceived somatotype (PSS), the perceived-ideal somatotype (PSI), and the self-ideal discrepancy, (PSD) groups. The analysis of the study indicated that the PSS groups differed significantly in Moral-Ethical dimension of Tennessee self-concept scale, no differences among the PSI groups. The PSD groups differed on Moral-Ethical and Family Self subscales. Salokun and Toriola examined the perceived somatotype in accordance with body types of 160 male and 140 female Nigerian children.

In both groups, the perception of subjects’ own physiques and discrepancy between their perceived and preferred physiques significantly explained the variance in the character trait scores attributed to body types. A satisfied perceived somatotype resulted to positive character traits while disgruntled perceived somatotype result to undesirable traits toward their self. Subjects with adverse self concept have low self-esteem. Body satisfaction may lead to high self esteem and self confidence. The combination of these two result in good academic performance, healthy emotional and social well-being and positive outlook in life.

Determining somatotype may help to find suitable career. Two studies made by Seltzer and Deabler studied the relationship between physique and career interests. Seltzer (1945) classified 253 college men into two groups according to the degree of their physiques. Men whose masculine component was strong, 33% were majoring in natural sciences, 41% in social sciences, and 26% in arts and letters; by comparison, for the weak masculine men, 11% were majoring in natural sciences, 30% in social sciences, 59% in arts and letters.

In another investigation of career interests, Deabler, Hartl, and Willis (1975) somatotyped 300 males and administered the Strong Vocational Interest Test. Of the 180 possible correlations, 71 are significant. The highest positive correlations for each somatotype are . 17 for endomorphy and senior CPA, . 31 for mesomorphy and aviator, and . 19 for ectomorphy and school superintendent.

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