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Are You a Type A, B, or D Personality?

Hard-driving and competitive, laid-back, or distressed? Test yourself.

There are three types of personalities that have been related to physical health and disease. What are they?

Type A (also known as the coronary-prone behavior pattern) are individuals who are hard-driving, competitive, and try to overachieve. The stereotype of the driven and overworked executive, who one day keels over with a heart attack, has some basis in fact, as Type A individuals are more prone to coronary heart disease.

Type B individuals are laid-back, never rush, and tend to take things easy. While Type As are focused on competing and attaining measurable goals, Type Bs are more about living in the moment.

Type D (also known as “distressed” or “disease-prone”) persons tend to be worried, irritable, and express a great deal of negative emotions. Also linked to coronary heart disease, there is a tendency for Type Ds to experience illnesses (particularly stress-related illnesses) in clusters. The disease-prone personality is related to Type D and you can read more about it here.

What Type Are You?

Agreeing with these items suggest Type A personality; disagreement suggests Type B:

  • Are you pressed for time at and after work?
  • Do you always take work home with you?
  • Do you eat rapidly?
  • Do you have a strong need to excel?
  • Do you have trouble finding time to get your hair cut/styled?
  • Do you feel or act impatient when you have to wait in line?
  • Are you bossy and impatient?

Affirmative answers to these questions suggest Type D personality:

  • I am often irritable.
  • I tend to keep to myself.
  • I tend to hide my feelings from others.
  • I often feel gloomy and down in the dumps.

What To Do

Type As may be more prone to stress (and potential heart-related issues), but research suggests that this can be helped by learning to appropriately manage and express emotions. On the positive side, Type As tend to be successful at work due to their drive and dedication.

Type Bs are better at “living in the moment,” and Type As can benefit by learning to stop, relax, and just enjoy. Type Bs can become more successful through goal setting. [More about Type A and B personalities here].

Type Ds, like Type As, need to learn to open up about feelings, to control negative emotions, and to develop better interpersonal skills.

Of course, it is important to remember that what we are describing in all of these personality types are the extremes. We all may be somewhere in the middle on some of these dimensions (A-B) or some combination.

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More from Ronald E. Riggio Ph.D.
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