Personality Factors - Biological Psychology AS

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Biological Psychology:
Personality Factors…read more

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In the 1970s, Friedman and Rosenman carried out a nine-year study of 1000 people
to try to find out if personality type affected stress levels.
The typical TYPE A person is competitive, time-conscious, 'workaholic' and easily
frustrated with others. Researchers have suggested that this sort of person would be
likely to show more risky behaviour such as smoking, poor diet and so on.
257 men in their study died from heart attacks - 70% of those who died had been
judged as having TYPE A personalities.
Critics have argued that it is very difficult to decide if someone has a 'type A'
personality or not.
They also say that the connection between personality and heart disease is weak,
maintaining that negative emotions such as anger and frustration are more linked to
stress-related illness than 'workaholic' lifestyles. These emotions may not be fixed
aspects of someone's personality.
In the late 1970's, Kobassa came up with a theory of why some people suffer stress
more easily than others, suggesting that some people are 'hardy personality types'.
These people have a sense of personal control over their lives, a sense of purpose
and they view life events as challenges rather than stresses. Such people report less
stress-related illness.…read more

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Meyer Friedman, an American cardiologist, noticed in the 1940's that the
chairs in his waiting room got worn out from the edges. They hypothesized
that his patients were driven, impatient people, who sat on the edge of their
seats when waiting. They labelled these people "Type A"
personalities. Type A personalities are workaholics, always busy, driven,
somewhat impatient, and so on. Type B personalities, on the other hand are
laid back and easy going. "Type A personality" has found its way into
general parlance.
Excessive competitive drive Less competitive
Impatient and hostile Less hostile and more patient
Fast movements Easygoing and tolerant
Rapid speech Slower speech
Very `intense' Slower movements
More likely to suffer from CORONARY Less likely to suffer from

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1 Assessing with certainty that someone is a TYPE A or a TYPE B is very
difficult. Questionnaires and scales designed to do it often give conflicting
2 TYPE A is a collection of characteristics (or traits), and some traits are
better predictors of CHD problems than others.
Hecker et al. ­ The hostility trait is the best predictor of CHD, whilst
other traits seem to have nothing to do with CHD at all.
Ironson et al. ­ Anger is the best way to make the heart beat faster.
Control that and you might be able to help a TYPE A person reduce their
risk of CHD.
3 According to Ragland and Brand, whist TYPE B personalities are less
likely to get heart problems, when the do get them they are more likely to die
from TYPE A personalities.…read more

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The Western Collaborative Group Study (WCGS) wanted to see whether TYPE A
men were more likely to suffer from CHD than TYPE B men, and why.
3,154 Californian men were assessed to see whether they were TYPE A men or
TYPE B men, or also TYPE X (a mixture of both). The men were studied for 8 years.
CHD was twice more likely to occur in TYPE A men than in TYPE B personalities.
They concluded that if we help people change their TYPE A behaviour pattern we
can reduce the likelihood of CHD.
It is correlational research, but just because a man is TYPE A does not necessarily
mean he will suffer with CHD.
The researchers could not have possibly control all aspects of the behaviours of
that many men at once over 8 years, so other factors could have contributed in the
factors of CHD.
Lifestyle and personal choices could have an effect on the personality type, also
uncontrollable life changes such as death of a family member or losing a job.…read more

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Clinical psychologist Susan Kobassa identified three elements to hardiness:
CHALLENGE ­ Resilient people view their "problems" as challenges, rather than
as threats. They feel motivated and embrace the setback with a positive attitude
and strength. They have strong determination to address the issue and then do
something about it. They see change as something to master and as an
opportunity to grow.
CONTROL ­ Hardy people take charge of the situation and feel they have some
level of control. Because of that, they utilize more effective coping and
management strategies that allow for better choices and outcomes.
COMMITMENT ­ The reason why hardy people persevere is because they take
an active part in what happens to them. They set goals, apply meaning to their
behaviour and maintain a strong sense of purpose. Even when things aren't
going their way, they stay committed, keeping their motivation and focus.…read more


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