The type C personality model, characterized by the inhibition of negative emotions and the presence of depressive traits, has been associated with the progression of cancer after the disease onset.
However, more recent research on the relationship between personality and cancer has undermined the credibility of this hypothesis.
Personality models A, B, C and D
In 1959, cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman Described the Type A Personality Model, Characterized by its role as a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disorders. The distinctive traits of this personality style include anxiety, ambition, rigidity, impatience, competitiveness, and hostility.
Later, the concept of “type B personality model” was also used to describe people with a low tendency to get involved in stressful situations. People with this personality are generally thoughtful and creative.They try to enjoy their life more than those of Type A and are not always geared towards success.
These two personality models were also joined by Type C and Type D. Type C personality, which we will discuss in detail below, includes emotional repression and hopelessness as defining traits, and has been attributed a certain predictive capacity in the evolution of cancer, but not in its appearance.
We finally find it the type D personality model, which was described by Denollet et al. (1996) and would worsen the course of heart problems. The letter “D” comes from the word “in distress”, which means “in distress”. It is defined as a combination of a tendency to social inhibition and to experience negative emotions, such as sadness, irritability, and worry.
Characteristics of type C personality
The descriptions that have been made of the Type C personality model vary depending on the specific research or literature. In general, we can highlight five main personality traits: emotional control, emotional repression, understanding, rationality and the need for harmony. Each description highlights one or the other factor.
The key point of this personality style is the inhibition or suppression of negative emotions; we are talking about sadness, fear and above all anger. In addition, a marked absence of dominance and hostility behaviors and a tendency towards stoic acceptance of negative vital events are detected.
People who fit the Type C model they often find it difficult to cope with stressful situations, Especially in a direct and active way. This trait causes depressive-type psychological reactions, such as expectations of helplessness or hopelessness about the future.
From this it follows that the type C personality model leads to the fact that, in the face of the onset of cancer, the affected person is insufficiently confronted with the disease and the negative emotions that arise from it, which could seriously interfere with the treatment.
The characteristics attributed to the Type C personality model bring it closer to other similar constructs. They deserve special mention types 1 and 5 of the classification of stress reactions developed by Eysenck and Grossarth-Maticek (1990), both associated with an increased risk of cancer, according to these authors.
Scientific evidence in this regard
Although research has confirmed the predictive ability of the type A personality model with respect to cardiovascular disease, the same cannot be said of the type C model. Even at its origin, it was still a attempt to apply the Friedman and Rosenman hypothesis to medical conditions other than those of the circulatory system.
In the 1990s, this construction was previously accepted by many members of the scientific community, but soon the inconsistency in the results started to become apparent around its predictive capacity in cancer. Among other things, the irregularity in the definition of personality model C makes it difficult to compare between studies.
It is currently believed that the presumed association between emotional inhibition and the development or course of cancer, if any, would be intervened by some non-adaptive coping styles or by other intermediate variables, and would in no case be specific to this disease.
The prospective macro-study by Nakaya et al. (2003), like much other research, refutes the idea that personality traits associated with neuroticism play a causal role in cancer. In addition, it is suggested that in the relationship found by other authors between this disease and anxiety can occur a causality opposite to that studied.
- Blatný, M. and Adam, Z. (2008). Type C personality (cancer personality): current view and implications for future research. Vnitr̆ní lékar̆ství, 54 (6): 638-45.
- Cardona Serna, EJ, Jaramillo, AC and Díaz Facio Linx, VE (2013). Relationship between personality type C and cancer: state of the art. Psychospaces: Virtual Journal of Social and Human Sciences, 7 (10): 66-92.
- Denollet, J., Sys, SU, Stroobant, N., Rombouts, H., Gillebert, TC and Brutsaert, DL (February 1996). Personality as an independent predictor of long-term mortality in patients with coronary artery disease. Lancet, 347 (8999): 417-21.
- Friedman, M. and Rosenman, R. (1959). Association of a specific open behavior pattern with blood and cardiovascular outcomes. Journal of the American Medical Association, 169: 1286–1296.
- Grossarth-Maticek, R. and Eysenck, HJ (1990). Personality stress and illness: description and validation of a new inventory. Psychological Reports, 66: 355-73.
- Nakaya, N., Tsubono, Y., Hosokawa, T., Nishino, Y., Ohkubo, T., Hozawa, A., Shibuya, D., Fukudo, S., Fukao, A., Tsuji, I. & Hisamichi, S. (2003): Personality and cancer risk, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 95 (11): 799-805.