Personality and Stress

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Personality types

Type A: Competitive, impatient, ambitious, hostile, aggressive, time urgent

Type B: Patient, relaxed, easy-going, express feelings, one thing at a time

Type C: Boarderline

Personality is a dispositional explanation for stress in the work place

This affects how we respond and cope with the negative effects

Type A is more prone to stress as their characteristics provoke frquent triggers of stress response

Type B is more resistant to stress

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Friedman & Rosenman - Western Collaborative Study

Aim: Investigate links between type A behaviour and coronary heart disease


  • Used structured interviews on 3200 healthy men aged 39-59
  • Categorised their personlaity types based on their responses (verbal and physical) to questions aimed to provoke type A behaviour
  • Continued for 8.5 years to assess lifestyle and health conditions


  • Twice as many type A died of CHD
  • 12% of type A had heart attack and 6% of type B had heart attack
  • Type As had higher blood pressure and more likely to smoke

Conclusion: Type A behaviour is a risk factor for CHD

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Friedman & Rosenman - AO2

  • - The study is very reliable as it was a longitudinal study and used a big sample
  • E - This is because the Pps are being compared to themselves only over a long period of time
  • C - This reduces the risk of individual differences
  • - There is supporting evidence to suggest that type A personality is linked to CHD
  • - For example, Friedman and Rosenman conducted a meta-analysis of 35 studies and found a link between hositility (a characteristic of type A) and CHD
  • - This inceases the validity of the study
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Lifton et al

Aim: Investigate if hardiness is related to likelihood of completing a degree

Procedure: Students from 5 US universities given hardiness questionnaire at start of degree then followed to find outcome


  • Students who scored low in the questionnaire were more likely to not complete degree
  • Students who scored high were more likely to complete degree

Conclusions: Hardiness is associated with chance of completing a degree

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Lifton et al - AO2

  • - Confounding variables may influence the data
  • - For example how much study and sleep the students had and the difficuty of the course they were doing also effects chance of completing degree
  • - This limits the validity of the data
  • - The data relies on self-report questionnaires
  • E - This means social desirability may have had an effect
  • - This limits the accuracy of the data
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