Personality factors and stress


There are three types of personality types:

1. type A

2. type B

3. Hardiness

  • Personality can be though of as a set of characteristic behaviours, attitudes and general temperaments that distinguish one individual from another.

Type A = It describes a person who always has to achieve more and more in less and less time. It is catagorised by constant time urgency, competitveness in work and social situations and anger

Friedman and Rosenman (1959) believed type A possessed three major charateristics:

  • competitiveness and achievement striving
  • impatience and time urgency
  • hostility and aggressiveness

These charcteristics are linked to ill health - CHD (coronary heart disease)

Type B = this personality type lacks Type A's personality charcteristics and they are patient, relaxed and easy-going. 

These characteristics are believed to decrease an individal's risk of stress-related illness

Research on Type A behaviour

Friedman and Rosenman - Western Collaborative Group Study (1960)

Aim: to test the hypothesis that CHD was associated with Tye A behaviour

Method: 3000 men aged 39-59 were examined for signs of CHD and their personalities were assessed by interview. The interview was conducted in a provocative manner to try and elict Type A behaviour

Findings: After 8.5 years, twice as many Type A participants had died of cardiovascular problems. 12% of Type A participant's had experienced a heart attack compared to 6% of Type B's. Type A's were also more likely to smoke, have higher blood pressure and cholestorol abd have a family history of CHD.

Conclusions: Type A's are more likely to experience and die from heart attacks compared to Type B's.


Ragland and Brand (1968 - carried out a follow-up study of the Wester Collaborative Group participants 22 years after the start of the study.

Findings: 214 (15%) of the men had died of CHD

The CHD risk factors are age, smoking and high blood pressure

The relationship found between Type A behaviours and mortality was that Type A behaviour was a significant risk factor for…


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