Personality Factors

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Type A and Type B behaviour.

Friedman and Rosenman suggested that individuals could be separated into two behavioural categories - type A and B. They proposed that Type A individuals were particularly at risk from stress based disordders.

Type A characteristics include: strong drive to suceed, hostility and aggression, competitiveness, perfectionism, desire for recognition, wealth and advancement, difficulty talking about feelings, sense of urgency and impatience.

Type B characteristics include: patient, relaxed, easy going and calm, lacks sense of ungency, lots of self control, do not get irritated or angry easily, less competitive.

Rosenman:

  • Studied 3454 middle aged men from the USA.
  • They were categorised as either Type A or Type B by using a stuctured interview.
  • The interviewer also noted down behavioural signs of Type A eg. rapid finger tapping on the table, restlessness and pace of talking.
  • Pt's followed up 8 and a half years later.
  • During that time, there had been 257 heart attacks, 69% of which were in the Type A category. 
  • This was a significant effect even when lifestyle risk factors such as smoking/obesity were controlled for.
  • Rosenman concluded that high Type A individuals suffer more from stress and are also therefore more vulnerable to heart disease.
  • Evaluation:
    • -ve: there are issues of gender bias and cultural bias as the study only used men from the USA.
    • -ve: there are many individual and lifestyle variables that can effect vulnerability to heart disease. Although some of these were controlled, some could have been missed.
    • +ve: high ecological validity as the study was real life (let go about normal life for 8 and a half years)
    • Correlations are never high - they show a link between the type A and stress but this link is never strong.
    • It's correlational so you can't establish cause and effect so we cant say being type A causes CHD, just that…

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