Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pooh Psychological Disorders



Today I was watching the Winnie the Pooh Christmas special, and I couldn't stop thinking about something I heard about in college: Characters in Winnie the Pooh each exhibit some sort of psychological disorder.

Now, I don't suspect that the book and series was created with this idea in mind, but when psychologically analyzing each character, I do think that each one clearly has a disorder that can be diagnosed based on their behaviors.

This was apparent when I was watching the special today. They are each so quirky and odd in their own way. That's what makes them so popular. They're great characters. But this can come along with a little analyzation.

Psychologists with the Canadian Medical Association wrote an interesting piece which can be read at this website. Their findings are extremely interesting to check out.

This website also offers links to other websites and articles on the topic.

Here is what I found from these websites:

Christopher Robin: Since Christopher Robin creates all of these characters in his mind, these characters represent feelings he is experiencing in his internal world. As a child, he is learning how to socially function and interact with the external world. Each character could represent a different reaction or feeling within himself as he learns to cope and deal with that extra world. The essay by Alan Bennett, from a website above, writes, "These different feeling states, the positions of the developing ego/self come to represent the characters, or, I should say that the 'Winnie-the-Pooh' characters come to represent the positions of the self in Christopher Robin." I almost think he might be schizophrenic if he actually takes on these personas. Either that or they represent parts of himself.

Winnie the Pooh: The Canadian Medical Association's article identified him with these disorders based on the following behaviors:

-ADHD: the inattentive subtype.
-Impulsivity and obsessive fixations on honey. (also obesity)
-OCD: Repetitive counting. OCD mixed with ADHD could eventually contribute to tourettes syndrome later on in life.

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He also has a speech imediment with his stuttering problem. Pooh and Piglet also have significant self-esteem injury.

Owl: Dyslexic, but extremely bright.

Tigger: ADHD. He cannot control his hyperactivity. He even will try anything that comes along his path which concerns psychologist with substance abuse problems. He is impulsive, a bad role model, a social magnet but those drawn into him will get themselves into trouble.

Kanga: The overprotective mother, obsessed with controlling her young.

Rabbit: OCD--he over-organzies and is obsessive with order. To me, for a male character, he is very feminine. Not that this is a disorder, it is just interesting to look at when analyzing his character.

Eeore: Depression, the most obvious. He needs some medication to brighten up his day.

All of these characters are male, with the exception of Kanga. I wonder why that is...?

Did I miss anything here or with other smaller characters within the show? Perhaps more or different diagnosis would make more sense.

What do you think of the psychological states of Winnie the Pooh characters?

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm doing the same Pooh project now in college! Thank you for this post! It helps!
Sarah, IN

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks a lot! I'm doing this in school at the moment and this was a tremendous help!!!

Anonymous said...

For Christopher Robin, I think you meant dissociative identity disorder which is often confused with schizophrenia. The first is known as multiple personality disorder while the latter is characterized for hallucinations, paranoia, impairment of speech and thinking, etc.

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Anonymous said...

As a clinical professional, i believe that Eeyore is dysthymic, which is a longstanding low level depression.

Anonymous said...

Winnie-the-Pooh is also based on Islam. Cristopher Robin is portrayed as Allah and the Owl as a prophet. Pooh and the others follow the Five Pillars of Islam. It can be seen throughout the series.

Akshay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akshay said...

For Chritopher Robin I believe it could be a subset of multiple personality disorder.

Anonymous said...

you forgot all about Roo!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is Multiple Personality Disorder(aka DID) for Christopher Robin since the characters are not shown as personalities inside Christopher Robin. I do agree on Schizophrenia, he believes that the stuffed animals talk to him- hallucinations
John, Philippines

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. Another minor character would be Gopher. Funny what you said about Rabbit; when I was younger I always viewed him as male, but now he seems increasingly female. About Christopher Robin, it's not unusual for a boy to play pretend; I would be concerned if he *didn't* make up characters.

Sheena said...

For Eeore you say that he needs medication to brighten up his day. As a person suffering from depression I find it a bit insulting that you say this easily. It's like the treatment of ADHD, medication is given far too fast, a quick fix. It's a mental disorder, something that can be helped without medication.

Anonymous said...

pooh has an addictive personality and is likely alchoholic he constantly has honey and is often seen drinking it

Anonymous said...

I always thought of Owl as the psychiatrist of the cast.

Anonymous said...

I would say that Tigger has Mania more than ADHD. He's constantly high. He is a terrible role model and he is impulsive. Not to mention he'd set goals, but never actually complete them.

Anonymous said...

pooh is an addict

Ezekiel Silverstein said...

Kanga represents Christopher Robin's mother. Kanga is the only girl in Pooh's life, as Christopher Robin's mother is the only girl in his life. And Kanga's motherly personality corresponds with his mother

Anonymous said...

poop

Anonymous said...

There is one more character; Roo who is Kangas son

Jr. said...

kanga is also a single mother and Roo a fatherless "bastard" child. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with either, but just an interesting thing to note. Also, Owl is a condescending know-it-all, and like people have mentioned before, Pooh possesses addictive tendencies, and may be mentally retarded, i.e. some sort of highly functioning autism or extremely low IQ.

Anonymous said...

Tigger's actions smack of narcissism. Pooh is an addict, so much so that he fantasizes about his substance while detatching from reality.

Anonymous said...

you know Pooh's 'real' story...but have you read the true story of Rugrats? try reading this. it's also a good case for Psychology majors ;)

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110312155513AAjgiDo

(read the 'best answer' part)

Anonymous said...

Pooh also demonstrates disordered eating, eating only honey

Anonymous said...

And i thought piglet was also female character... amongst with the mother of the roo.

Anonymous said...

Kanga allows Roo too go on adventures with Tigger, and she doesn't show too much anxiety about his safety, or about anything else. I think she is well-adjusted and an excellent mother.

I think rabbit is more likely to have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder than OCD. He doesn't have one or a few isolated rituals. He has a rigid lifestyle and approaches every task with a detailed plan.

Owl is haughty, grandiose, and his obliviousness to the boredom of other characters when he tells his stories indicates a lack of empathy. He has narcissistic traits, but I don't think he qualifies for a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.

All of Pooh's thoughts go back to honey. Whenever he starts to make a chain of thoughts, it invariably ends with honey. He must have some kind of thought disorder.

Pooh is always calm. When he first met Tigger, a normal person would have freaked out, but Pooh showed no fear at all. He never shows anxiety. This is certainly abnormal.

My guess is Pooh sustained brain damage falling out of a tree, limiting his ability to think and feel.

Anonymous said...

You forgot about Gopher; he has an impulse control disorder. He can't resist blowing things up, which in return causes harm or danger to both him and those around him. A good example of this would be like a pyromaniac.

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Anonymous said...

It should be noted that gopher was actually added later when Disney bought the movie, so unless its immediately clear that a disorder could be associated with him I wouldn't try to stretch it too far. I can see the original author giving these characters their traits to keep them separate and original.

Anonymous said...

Tigger has severe ADHD, Piglet has anxiety, Rabbit is a pedantic loner, Owl has OCD, Eore has extreme depression, while Pooh represents an addict. Maybe Christopher has schizophrenia? he imagines all these animals.

Anonymous said...

the reason why i look up the psych disorders in winnie the pooh's character was because a patient mentioned it to me last week, i was amazed about it... i grow up watching it and i love eeyore so much. it's really interesting though.
for christorpher robin, he is still kid it normal for them to create their own world and story as long as they know which is reality and which is not. in the story sometimes christopher robin was called by his mom and go back to reality... and there are times that christopher robins is not around that's because he is in school or maybe playing with other kids. my point is christopher robins is normal kid, he is not dissociative or having personality disorder.
just like in puff the magic dragon, the kid grows up and stopped visiting the dragon or the world that he created when he was a kid. it's like when we grow up we stopped believing fairy tales, santa clause because we know that they are not true...

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha

Anonymous said...

Pooh has an eating disorder and the books were made like that on purpose because tha actual Chriatopher Robin was retarded and pooh was a gift.

Anonymous said...

what about Roo?

Anonymous said...

interesting how adults like to take children stories and turn them into adult things, why not just let the kids enjoy the characters and what they do?

Saera :) said...

I thought Owl represents a pathological liar.

Saera :) said...

I thought Owl represents a pathological liar.

Anonymous said...

its a kids show i can see how it may seem that way but seriously let it be....it doesnt mean a thing let kids be kids and let them watch winnie the pooh if you keep doing this they are not going to let kids watch it just like they are trying to get kids to stop watching barnie let them have imagination and let it be...

Anonymous said...

I guess.

Anonymous said...

You just ruined my childhood for me :'( thanks.....

Holstead said...

I thought Owl represents a pathological liar.

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Anonymous said...

The truth here is so simple that psychology is needed to complicate it, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

I think Pooh actually has Asperger's Syndrome. He's spacey, and he doesn't understand figurative language very well, and everyone always has to explain to him what's going on.

Also, I think the reason that most of the Whinnie the Pooh characters are boys is that Christopher Robin is a boy. Boy's make all their stuffed animals boys as children, and girls make all of theirs girls. Kanga is a girl only because she has to be in order for her to be Roo's mom. I'm a girl, and I know it wasn't untill I was nine or ten that I began making any of my stuffed animals be boys.

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