Does Type A personality cause heart disease? (7 reasons)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does Type A personality cause heart disease?” and explore the type A personality, its traits and its impact on health with the help of various studies to help understand the answer. 

Does Type A personality cause heart disease?

Yes, a Type A personality can cause heart disease. According to Ronesh Sinha, M.D., a Palo Alto Medical Foundation internal medicine specialist, someone who is impatient, aggressive, and extremely competitive, also known as a Type A personality, has a greater risk of heart disease.

The following are 7 traits of Type A personality that can cause heart disease –

  • Impatience and Time Urgency.
  • Aggressiveness or Free-Floating Hostility.
  • Competitiveness.
  • Dedicated to achieving goals.
  • The need to dominate.
  • Bodily changes.
  • The effects of situations on Type A behaviours.

These 7 traits of Type A personality that can cause heart disease will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at the Type A personality, its characteristics and negative consequences. 

What is Type A Personality?

Type A personalities have a disposition that is prone to stress and preoccupied with time management. They are ambitious, well-organized, hardworking, nervous, self-conscious of their social standing, antagonistic, and aggressive. 

People with Type A personalities exhibit the following behavioural patterns –

  • They are quick to move, walk, and eat.
  • Multitasking is a strength of hers.
  • When self-driven people relax, they feel guilty.
  • The speed of things irritates him, and he despises waiting.
  • They are overworked and don’t have time to enjoy life.
  • Uses tense movements such as clenching his fist or slamming his hand against the table.
  • They are great achievers who go above and above.
  • They are not easily defeated.

What are the negative consequences of Type A behaviours?

Over time, the increased stress that most Type A persons face has a negative impact on their health and lifestyle. Some of the negative consequences that are typical in people who have TABP are listed below.

Hypertension.

Although the link between personality types and high blood pressure is complicated, there has been some evidence of a link between Type A personalities and hypertension.

Heart disease.

According to certain studies, there is a link between TABP and coronary heart disease. Recent research, however, has been unable to prove this.

Job stress. 

Type A persons frequently have difficult, demanding occupations (and their employment may sometimes cause Type A behaviour), which can lead to stress-related health issues.

Social isolation.

People with TABP are more likely to alienate people or spend too much time on work and too little time on relationships, placing them at risk of social isolation and the stress that comes with it.

What are these 7 traits of Type A personality that can cause heart disease?

Impatience and Time Urgency.

People who, among other things, feel upset when waiting in line, interrupt others frequently, walk or talk quickly, and are always keenly aware of the time and how little time they have spare display time urgency and impatience.

Aggressiveness or Free-Floating Hostility.

Impatience, rudeness, getting quickly agitated over trivial things, or “having a short fuse” are examples of free-floating animosity or aggression.

Competitiveness.

Type A personalities are driven to succeed in everything they do, from job to relationships, even if the activities aren’t intrinsically competitive.

Dedicated to achieving goals.

Type A persons get their sense of self-worth from their accomplishments.

The need to dominate.

Many Type A personalities strive to assert control in their professional and personal lives by ignoring others’ preferences and demands in favour of their own.

Bodily changes.

Years of Type A behaviour and stress can lead to bodily changes and features, such as –

  • Tension in the face (tight lips, clenched jaw, etc.)
  • Grinding your teeth or clicking your tongue
  • Dark rings behind the eyes
  • Sweating on the face (on the forehead or upper lip)

The effects of situations on Type A behaviours.

While many personality qualities are intrinsic, such as extroversion, most studies feel that Type A personality traits are more of a reaction to environmental circumstances, or dispositions toward specific behaviours, and are impacted by conditions such as culture and work structure.

Many occupations, for example, place high demands on time, requiring individuals to be extremely concerned with getting things done fast in order to succeed at work. Similarly, some workplaces impose severe fines for mistakes, making efficiency and accomplishment crucial.

Other occupations just add to people’s stress levels, making them less patient, more anxious, and more prone to Type A behaviour. Some people are born with an inclination to be more passionate. Environmental stress can exacerbate this propensity, which can be countered by intentional effort and lifestyle modifications.

What do researchers say about the correlation between Type A personality and heart disease?

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking are all known to be risk factors for heart disease. A specific personality type, on the other hand, might put you at risk for heart disease.

According to Ronesh Sinha, M.D., a Palo Alto Medical Foundation internal medicine specialist, someone who is impatient, aggressive, and extremely competitive, also known as a Type A personality, has a greater risk of heart disease.

Researchers looked at 2,398 males aged 50 to 64 who were all identified as having a Type A personality to some degree. Blood pressure, smoking habits, alcohol intake, socioeconomic class work position, and the prevalence of chest discomfort were among the tests provided to the males at around five-year intervals.

In the first five years, 7% of the group had heart disease, and 12% exhibited indications in the first nine years. They were also more likely to be from a wealthy family, smoke several packs of cigarettes every day, and have high cholesterol.

Men with the highest Type A scores had a higher chance of having a heart attack within five years. Those with lesser scores got them a little later, nine years later.

Lead researcher John E. J. Gallacher, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Wales College of Medicine, says, “It may be that Type A has a predictive ‘shelf life’ ” — that they will suffer heart attacks sooner than men with less Type A features.

For more than 50 years, researchers have studied the Type A Behavior Pattern (TABP), which is defined by persons who are extremely competitive, ambitious, work-driven, time-conscious, and aggressive. 

Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, two American cardiologists, proposed the theory in the late 1950s, claiming that TABP was a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), particularly among White middle-class males. 

Findings from the Western Collaborative Group Study in 1970, 1974, and 1976, as well as the Framingham Study in 1980, tended to corroborate this notion. 

However, these good results were the exception rather than the rule. Several subsequent evaluations have failed to establish significant or consistent evidence that TABP is directly linked to CHD development or prognosis.

A comprehensive analysis of 18 etiologic and 15 prognostic studies published in 2002, for example, found that studies indicating a substantial connection were in the minority in both groups. 

Following studies have found no link between type A behaviour and mortality, such as the PRIME study, which looked at psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease in France and Northern Ireland; the GAZEL study, which found no link between type A behaviour and mortality in French men but found it to be protective of all-cause mortality in women; and the JHPC study, which found type A behaviour to be unrelated to coronary heart disease in a Japanese population.

Despite the absence of evidence that type A conduct is a risk factor for CHD, the notion of type A behaviour has remained popular, thanks to publications like Friedman and Rosenman’s “How to Recognize the Deadly Type A Pattern in Your Own Personality.” 

TABP has also been a focus of recent health research, including epidemiological studies of coronary artery disease and the inclusion of TABP in debates on the psychological origins of health disparities.

Some data suggests that the Type A personality attribute of antagonism, in particular, may have a role in the development of CHD. Researchers discovered that those with a Type A personality got CHD more than twice as often as people with a Type B personality in a study of men. 

By the end of the research, it was shown that 70 per cent of males with CHD had Type A personalities. However, because the study only included adult men, it’s unclear if the findings apply to everyone with a Type A personality. 

In fact, further research on women has found no significant differences in health outcomes between Type A and Type B personalities, indicating that how people deal with their Type A personality trait is just as important as the features themselves.

Conclusion – 

This blog post attempted to answer the question, “Does Type A personality cause heart disease?” and reviewed the type A personality, its traits and its impact on health with the help of various studies to help determine if Type A personality causes heart disease. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Sinha, R. Does Your Personality Put You at Risk for Heart Disease? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/heart/does-your-personality-put-you-at-risk-for-heart-disease#:~:text=Someone%20who%20is%20impatient%2C%20aggressive,Medical%20Foundation%20internal%20medicine%20doctor.

Davis, J. L. Type A Triggers Heart Disease. (2003, July 22).   Retrieved from  https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20030722/type-triggers-heart-disease

Petticrew, Mark P et al. “Type A behavior pattern and coronary heart disease: Philip Morris’s “crown jewel”.” American journal of public health vol. 102,11 (2012): 2018-25. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300816. Retrieved from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477961/

What Are Type A and Type B Personalities? MedicineNet. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.medicinenet.com/type_a/article.htm

Sahoo, S. et al. Role of personality in cardiovascular diseases: An issue that needs to be focused too! (2018, December). Retrieved from  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019483218305807

Type A Behavior. ScienceDirect. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/type-a-behavior

McLeod, S. Type A and B Personality. (2021) Retrieved from  https://www.simplypsychology.org/personality-a.html

Can personality affect heart disease risk? The President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2021, May 1).  Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/can-personality-affect-heart-disease-risk

Type A and Type B personality theory. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2022, April 7). Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_A_and_Type_B_personality_theory

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment