An alternative way to individualized medicine: Psychological and physical traits of Sasang typology

Han Chae, In Kyoon Lyoo, Soo Jin Lee, Sonhae Cho, Hyunsu Bae, Moochang Hong, Minkyu Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background: Disease susceptibility and drug response of individuals are presumed to be different depending on their personality traits. The Sasang typology, a traditional Korean medical typology, explains the individual differences of vulnerability to pathology and proposes guidelines for the safe and effective use of medical herbs depending on individual traits. Objective: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate psychologic and physical characteristics of Sasang types from the perspective of personality theory. Design: After determining the Sasang type of 79 college students based on the Questionnaire for the Sasang Constitution Classification, the psychologic and physical traits of each type were analyzed by the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, respectively. Results: Each of the Sasang types showed significantly different profiles based on the MBTI scores (generalized estimation equation, coefficient = 11.88, z = 2.13, p = 0.033) and could be distinctively classified based on their MBTI scores (discriminant analysis Wilks' λ = 0.611, df = 8, χ2 = 36.7, p < 0.001). Subjects with the So-Eum type (Introversion and Judging) and the So-Yang type (Extroversion and Perceiving) showed contrasting psychologic features. However, they had similar anthropometric characteristics. Subjects with Tae-Eum type had relatively higher body fat mass. Conclusion: Current results demonstrated distinctive personality traits associated with Sasang types using reproducible psychometric and anthropometric instruments. With further study, the Sasang typology could serve as a scientific tool for individualized and integrative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-528
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003


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