What is a Type A Personality?
The term ‘Type A Personality’ is a commonly used term these days, but exactly what is it? The Type A Personality was identified by Friedman and Rosenman in 1974. Essentially it is a particular set of traits or characteristics held by a person that lead to certain behaviours. Such behaviours may have particular consequences for the individual. Type A traits can essentially be divided into impatience, aggression and competitiveness. Within each we see particular displays of behaviour.
Being impatient means the Type A will get irritated by delays and people they consider incompetent. They will demand people to hurry up. They are unable to relax and to take time out and sit quietly doing nothing. Everything is a rush to the Type A, no matter what it is. As such, they are adept at multitasking.
The Type A Personality is prone to anger. They will become hostile to people who do not meet their high expectations.
Winning is all important and the Type A will compete no matter who it is against. Recognition and advancement is very important and they will push themselves to their limits to try and achieve as much as possible, as quickly as possible. However, the Type A may feel unfulfilled as they constantly want to achieve more and more and sometimes their goals may not be realistic. Although they may appear confident, the Type A may suffer from self-doubt.
Risks associated with a Type A Personality
Given the very nature of the Type A Personality it is somewhat not surprising that it has associated health risks. Studies suggest that coronary heart disease, blood clots and high cholesterol are health risks to people with a Type A Personality. It is possible that they are also more likely to suffer a heart attack. Some research has suggested however the only risk is for those people who display anger and hostility.
The demands the Type A Personality means they will be susceptible to greater stress and as such will be at risk of the associated problems.
Identifying if you are a Type A
Have a look at the above description of the behaviours associated with a Type A Personality. Do you recognise these behaviours within yourself? It is possible to reduce or change behaviours associated with a Type A Personality.
If you are concerned about Type A characteristics that you are displaying and not happy with who you are, have a look at the following tips to help balance your life.
- Learn to manage your anger.
- Learn to resolve conflict effectively.
- Learn stress management skills.
- Take time to reflect.
- Slow down.
- Listen to others.
- Redefine your definition of success.
- Consider making lifestyle changes (e.g. work, exercise, diet).
- Set yourself realistic goals to help gain a sense of achievement.