Psychology Personality Factors

Psychology Personality factors

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  • Created by: Beth
  • Created on: 14-02-12 11:19

Friedman and Rosenman – behaviour patterns

Noticed some people have a behaviour pattern that makes them vulnerable to stress, and therefore stress related illness. Identified a behaviour pattern in their CHD patients which they felt contributed to their heart problems.

Gave out test (questionnaire rating thing) asking questions i.e. Are you on time for appointments? The participant then ticks the appropriate box ~ Never/ Almost never/ sometimes/ usually/ almost always/ always.

A high score indicated type A behaviour and a low score indicated type B behaviour.

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Type A

  • Intense desire to achieve goals
  • Tendency to compete
  • Desire for recognition and achievement
  • Tendency to rush to finish tasks
  • Mental and physical alertness
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Type B

A noticeable lack of:

  • Drive
  • Ambition
  • Urgency
  • Desire to compete
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Rosenman et al study ‘76

Prospective, longitudinal study with correlation. 3200 participants were healthy at the beginning (’60) and were assessed over 8.5 years.

#1: Structured interview & observation – assessing behaviour pattern & current health status. Personality type determined by impatience, hostility & competitiveness (found from interview + observation).

Participants were classified as A1 (type A); A2 (not fully type A); X (50/50 A/B) or B (type B).

#2: follow up 8 years later & incidence of CHD was recorded. Correlational analysis used to test association between type A/B behaviour and CHD.

Of 32000, 257 developed CHD during the 8.5 years & 70% of these had been classified type A. Overall, type A personalities were found to have higher level of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cholesterol.

Correlation found was slightly significant.

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Evaluation of Rosenman et al study ‘76

·       Later studies failed to replicate the findings – not generalisable

·       Other factors could be more important in the development of CHD

·       Protective effect of being type B could be due to non-identified factors

·       Miller et al (’96) found hostility to be main risk factor of being type A

·       Attrition rate – 8.5 years

·       Social desirability in interview

·       Observer bias

·       Findings from ‘60s may not be relevant in 2012

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Coping ability

Correlation between type A behaviour and CHD is weak, it could be other personality factors that have a protective effect. E.g. coping ability.

Personality factors that could increase coping ability:

·       Calm

·       Laid-back

·       Sociable – support from friends

·       Optimism

·       Organisation

·       Patience

·       Resilience

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Hardiness (linked to resilience)

People with a hardy personality were less likely to see events as stressful.

Kobasa (’79)

600 managers/executives – white males - in large US Company tested using the SRRS [Holmes & Rahe]. The ones that scored highly examined & split into 2 groups ~ frequently ill + rarely ill. Difference in personality found between groups, with people w/ few illnesses described as hardy.

Three characteristics of hardy personality:

CONTROL: being in charge of the environment

COMMITMENT: getting involved & tackling problems head on

CHALLENGE: change as challenge rather than threat

Hardiness = protective/buffering effect against stress, increasing coping ability.

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Evaluation of Kobasa & hardiness

·       Gender bias

·       Large sample size

·       Cultural differences

·       Ethnocentrism

·       Race bias

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