personality factors and stress

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Personality factors and stress

Type A behaviour- describes a person who is in a constant struggle to achieve more and in less time

Friedman and Rosenman 1959- believed the type A personality possesses three main characteristics:

  • Competitiveness and achievement striving

  •   Impatient and time urgency

  •  Hostility and aggressiveness

These characteristics can lead to:

  • Raised blood pressure

  •   Raised level of stress hormones

  • Both raised blood pressure and stress hormones can lead to coronary heart disease

Type B behaviour- personality relativity lacking all characteristics which are demonstrated in the type A personality type, demonstrating three main characteristics:

  • Patient

  •   Relaxed

  •  Easy-going

These behaviours are believed to decrease an individual’s risk of stress related illness.

Research on Type A behaviour

Friedman and Rosenman 1960 - Western Collaborative group

  • To see whether the development of coronary heart disease was linked to type A behaviour.

  •  Approximately 3000 Californian men aged 39-59 examined for coronary heart disease  

  •  Men that were already ill were excluded from the study

  • The remaining participants were then interviewed to find out their personality type.

  •    The interviews were conducted in a proactive manner to try and elicit type A behaviour.

Eg. The interviewer would speak slowly and hesitantly, so a type A person would interrupt.  


Alarming results:

  • After 8 ½ years, twice as many type A participants had died of cardiovascular problems

  •     12% of the type A personality type had experienced heart attacks compared to 6% of the type B personality types.

  •  Type A’s had higher blood pressure and higher cholesterol. They were also more likely to smoke and


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