What is The Type A Personality In Behavioral Science?

Type A personality is a term used in the field of psychology to describe a specific set of personality traits and behaviors often associated with a competitive, achievement-oriented, and highly driven individual. The concept of Type A personality was first introduced by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman in the 1950s, during their research on the correlation between personality types and the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Characteristics of the Type A Personality

Key characteristics of Type A individuals typically include:


Type A individuals often exhibit a strong sense of urgency and a desire to complete tasks quickly. They may become easily frustrated or irritated by delays or obstacles and may struggle to relax or enjoy leisure activities.


A strong drive to win and outperform others is a hallmark of Type A personalities. They tend to be highly ambitious, goal-oriented, and motivated by external rewards and recognition.


Type A individuals often have high standards for themselves and others, and they may be overly critical or demanding in their pursuit of excellence.


While not universally true, some Type A individuals may display aggressive or hostile behaviors, particularly when under stress or facing perceived threats to their goals or status.


Type A personalities may have a tendency to engage in multitasking, juggling multiple tasks or projects simultaneously, often driven by a desire for productivity and efficiency.

Type A and Health

One significant finding from the original research by Friedman and Rosenman was the association between Type A personality and an increased risk of coronary heart disease, potentially due to the higher levels of stress and negative emotions experienced by these individuals. However, subsequent research has found that specific aspects of Type A personality, such as hostility and aggression, may contribute more significantly to the risk of heart disease than the overall Type A pattern.

Final Note

In summary, Type A personality refers to a set of traits and behaviors often characterized by competitiveness, impatience, perfectionism, and a strong drive for achievement. While the concept has its roots in research on the relationship between personality and heart disease, it has become widely recognized in the broader field of psychology and is frequently used to describe individuals who display a high level of ambition, drive, and determination in various aspects of their lives.

It is important to note that Type A personality is not an official diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). However, the concept remains influential in popular culture and has been the subject of extensive research in psychology and related fields.

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