Type A personality
Characterised by time pressure, competitive and anger.
- Working against the clock
- Doing several things at once
- Irritation and impatient with others
- Unhappy doing nothing
- Always plays to win at games and at work
- Achievement measured as material productivity
- Hostile to the outside world
- Anger often directed inwards
Key study A01: Friedman and Rosenman (1974)
Aimed to investigate links between the Type A behaviour pattern and cardiovascular (heart) disease.
- Using structured interviews, 3200 Californian men, aged between 39 and 59, were categorised as either Type A, Type X (balanced between Type A and Type B) or Type B (the opposite of Type A i.e. more relaxed). They categorised these behaviours as a direct response when the participants were constantly interrupted in the interview.
- This sample was followed for up to eight and a half years to assess their lifestyle and health outcomes.
- 257 men in the sample developed CHD, of which 70% were from the Type A group.
- This difference in the incidence of CHD between two groups was independent of lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity that are known to increase the chances of heart disease.
- The Type A behaviour pattern increases vulnerability to heart disease.
- Behaviour modification programmes to reduce Type A behaviour should result in a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Although aspects of lifestyle were controlled for, there may have been other variables that could have affected vulnerability to heart disease, such as elements of hardiness.
- This was not an experimental study, so cause and effect cannot be assumed; other studies have failed to show a relationship between Type A behaviour and heart disease.
o Glass et al (1980) tested reactivity in men playing video games (winner to win prize!). The video game was rigged so no one could ever win!
o Based on structured interview, participants were either assigned Type A or B, in half of each group a confederate harassed them; in the other half the confederate was silent.
o Physiological measures were taken e.g. blood pressure and heart rate; there was no difference in reactivity where the confederate was silent. Where the confederate harassed the participants, Type A participants had significantly greater reactivity.
Type B personality
Generally patient, relaxed, easy-going, and at times lacking an overriding sense of urgency
The Hardy Personality
Characterised by Control, Commitment and Challenge