Type A and Type B personality traits is the product of a nine year study conducted by Friedman and Rosenman with the participation of 40 United States Tax accountants. The study examined the blood cholesterol level and the clotting speed. The study ran from January through March. The researchers observed the participants for warning signs of health complications due to the impending date of the tax deadline. As the April 15th date approached the cholesterol levels rose to dangerous levels within the accountants. Once the deadline had passed, the blood work was redone on the participants. The dangerous levels had returned to normal levels once the deadline had passed.
So how did they determine who was a Type A or Type B in the group? The researchers determined that Type A participants had the following traits:
Always on the go or rushed
Pushing themselves to the limit
Ambitious, expects to move forward quickly
Tends to be a workaholic in everything they do.
Some may become angry even about small situations and become aggressive
People with Type B personalities tend to have the following traits:
Not highly competitive
Relaxed, not rushing
Ability to be understanding and forgiving
Confidence and satisfied with job
Enjoys leisure time
Tends to cope with situations with a sensible approach and not becoming hostile
Psychologists and Psychiatrists have done extensive research regarding the health implications and personality type. There have been multiple studies performed which show that people with Type A personalities are more likely at risk for heart attacks. During one of these research projects, there were 257 people who were monitored. 69% of the participants suffered from heart attacks and were labeled as having Type A personality. None of the people labeled Type B had suffered from a heart attack or any problems for that matter.
The researchers had to start by examining what it was that made the Type A personalities more susceptible to heart attacks. The researchers examined their eating habits and other unhealthy behaviors. The Type A personalities were smokers, possibly sleep deprived, and drank a large amount of decaffeinated drinks. However when Type A personalities were faced with stress or pressure they tended to become “physiologically reactive” (Psychology, Myers). Just as in the research project with the accountants, the blood pressure began to rise and they Type A personalities were at greater risk for a heart attack. However when the Type B personalities were faced with the same type of scenario, the participants were calm and did not see an increase in blood pressure or other problems.
The danger involved with having such high stress levels is because the hormones release plaque into the arteries and form deposits of cholesterol. Researchers also discovered that Type A personalities tend to be “combat ready” (Psychology, Myers). This causes a problem because when Type A personalities are revved up and ready to fight or flight, the blood moves away from the normal pattern of flowing toward the muscles and organs and instead redirects towards the heart. As it heads towards the heart it may be carrying cholesterol which it will deposit around the heart. It can cause problems with regulated heart beats.
Research shows that merely being a Type A personality is not enough to condemn a person to having a heart attack. Problems tend to occur with Type A personalities who have problems with anger, aggression and hostility. In fact it really is the small things that make a difference, those Type A personalities who became excessively angry over small issues were at higher risk to suffer from a heart attack than their calmer counterparts, the Type B personalities.
In summary, it is important to think about situations before reacting. The small stuff really shouldn’t be sweated as it could come back to hurt you where it counts most, in your heart and your health.