Type A personality, Neuroticism, and stress are investigated.

This job correlates how personality traits affect health. What models have been developed to explain associations between personality and health? What is the Type A personality and how may it affect health?

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... may therefore cause N.

Summary - a correlation between personality and health outcomes can mean a number of different things; any such robust association will be the start rather than the end of the investigative process. Methodologically, the best studies will be those in which personality traits are assessed before the onset of the illness, and objective rather than subjective health outcome measures used. Effects of traits on objectively measurable health outcomes would provide strong evidence for their status as valid psychobiological constructs.

The illness-prone personality

The most important question is; does personality predict how long we will live?
Friedman et al (1993) rated over 1500 11 year old children on five personality traits to try and predict which children would live until 70. They found that longevity was associated with high conscientiousness and low levels of optimism as rated in childhood by parents. The findings imply that the tendance of researchers to focus on N might be misguided.

Heart disease and Type A personality

The most studied interface between personality and illness is the case of CHD. Friedman & Rosenman (1974) began the research, they noted that previous reports had indicated that the CHD patient tended t have personality traits of aggressiveness, drive to dominate, drive to achieve goals and to be a workaholic. Their detailed interviews noted behaviours such as brisk body movements, fist clenching in conversation, explosive and hurried speech, upper chest breathing and a lack of body relaxation.

Haynes et al (1980) also found that the Type A personality was predictive of heart disease only in certain professions.

The overall significance of the large number of studies conducted has been investigated using the statistical technique of meta-analysis, to assess how strong the underlying association between Type A and CHD actually is. Booth-Kewley & Friedman's (1987) meta-analysis concluded that, at most, Type A behaviour might predict about 2% of the variance in CHD, similar to other risk factors. Matthews (1988) indicated that the Booth-Kewley study has omitted some more recent studies and modified their conclusions by stating that the Type A effect in CHD was even less strong.

Moreover, Type A only predicted CHD in population studies, not in high-risk studies. Studies have shown that Type A personality in really a composite, with some traits relevant to CHD and some not. In general it was found that the workaholic aspect of Type A was not associated with CHD, but the aggressive and impatient traits were more important.

Methodological factors, which may be associated with the failure to find associations between Type A and CHD, include the use of high-risk populations, fatal myocardial infraction as the disease criterion, and the use of self-report Type A measures (Miller et al, 1991).

Increasing integration of the Type A construct with ...