Personality type A is a category used to describe a particular type of stress response. It’s a proposition that emerged in the 1950s, when two cardiologists wanted to study the relationship between certain personality traits and the development of heart disease.
Currently, the type A personality is one of four personality models (there is also B, C, and D) that we have used to describe how people relate to us and how we respond to external factors. Then we will see what a type A personality looks like and what is their relationship to cardiovascular disease, as well as the research that has linked it.
Characteristics of the type A personality
The classification we call “type A personality” was suggested by American cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Raymond Rosenman in the 50s.
In very general terms, they observed that a set of stress responses, such as competitiveness, a sense of constant urgency, and hostility (what they called personality type A), are linked to a greater likelihood of developing high blood pressure.
Although they were limited to relating the response to stress and heart disease, their classification has now been taken up and conceptualized as a set of behavioral responses known as type A personality pattern o Type A behavior model (TABP).
TABP is characterized by a tendency towards competitiveness, which means that the person is always self-critical and seeks to achieve their goals for the satisfaction of achieving them, rather than profiting from the process.
In other words, competitiveness it relates to constant success experiencesBecause it involves a disciplined personality and achieves goals, but it can also be a source of constant stress.
2. Sense of urgency
He’s a personality who always seems “against the clock”, with an overload of work and a constant need to respect the rules and schedules. These are people who do a lot of things at the same time and always “on time”, so the times that are not considered “productive” can generate a lot of anxiety.
Likewise, it is usually impatient people who they become very involved in their professional activities and that they tend to overreact on certain occasions, for example, when things don’t go as planned.
The above characteristic is related to the fact that the person often emphasizes the negative more than the positive of others and circumstances, developing constant frustration or even lack of empathy, or at worst aggressive behavior. The consequence is that the person is almost always seen as someone hostile or that she is still angry.
In short, the Type A personality involves a success orientation with a tendency to be competitive, a sense of urgency, and a low tolerance for frustration. They are usually ambitious, extremely hard-working and demanding people who engage in several activities at the same time, which they consider urgent and which therefore generate constant tension.
Other personality models: Type B, C and D
While researching type A personality models, Friedman and Rosenman found that not all type A personalities were the same. like that, proposed that the type A personality be A-1 or A-2; and could also be type B, Which included subtypes B-3 and B-4.
To explain it better, imagine a straight line in which one end has the letter A and the other end has the letter B, and in the middle are the codes A-1, A-2, B-3 and B -4. We would find personality type A and subtype A-1 at the first end, which is the most notorious manifestation of the traits we explain above.
The A-2 personality is the next segment and refers to people who are less distressed and less competitive. On the other hand, if the person has a successful orientation, however it’s quieter than overloadedThen it’s a B-3 personality type.
Finally, on the other end of the line, we have the Type B personality model, who is someone who is perceived to be more serene and peaceful (that would be Type B-4 personalities).
However, the research that followed after Friedman and Rosenman’s studies was not limited to the study of type A personality, so currently four personality models are recognized: type A, type B, C and type D. .
Personality type A and heart disease
Friedman and Rosenman conducted a longitudinal study of 3,154 healthy men aged 39 to 59 to whom they applied. a questionnaire exploring the emotional dimensions and certain lifestyles, from which they categorized type A personality traits.
Eight years later, 257 of the participants had developed coronary artery disease, and at the end of the research, 70% of those who had developed it were men who had type A personality models.
They also found that the people who were at the A and B ends they had very different blood pressure levels: Very high values at the first end and more normal values at the second (250/130 mm. Hg and 155/95 mm. Hg. Respectively).
Some limitations in the investigation of the type A personality model
these they should not be considered as closed, fixed or immobile categories, But as a continuum. In other words, we can find ourselves in type A or B at different times and depending on the demands of the environment.
For example, the researchers themselves realized that people who were at the end of the Type A personality, could be found more towards the B-end during the weekends or when very demanding routines were changed.
On the other hand, one of the limitations of the study is that it was only conducted with men, so its results they cannot be fully applied to the female population (Lifestyles, social demands and stress response are different).
It was also found that there are other risk factors more determining for the development of cardiovascular diseases, Such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle or obesity.
Because of the above, and also because of the popularity it has gained in certain areas of medicine and clinical psychology, the Type A personality is a theory that has been constantly studied and updated.
- McLeod, S. (2017). Type in a personality. Accessed April 3, 2018.Available at https://www.simplypsychology.org/personality-a.html
- Petticrew, M. Lee, K. and McKee, M. (2012). Type A behavioral model and coronary heart disease: Philip Morris’ “crown jewel”. Am J Public Health, 102 (11): 2018-2025.
- Friedman, H. and Booth-Kewley, S. (1987). Personality, type A behavior, and coronary heart disease: the role of emotional expression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 53 (4): 783-792.
- Friedman, M. (1977). Type A behavior model: some of its pathophysiological components. Toro. N. Y Acad. Med. 53 (7): 593-604.
- Rosenman, R. and Friedman, M. (1977). Modification of the type of behavior model. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 21 (4): 323-331.