Personality, type A behavior, and coronary heart disease: the role of emotional expression.
The nature of the relation between personality factors and coronary heart disease (CHD, the nation's greatest killer) is one of the most important if controversial issues in the field of psychology and health. Although there is still a great deal of conceptual confusion, progress is being made in refining the key components of a predisposition to heart disease. In this article we examine the construct of a coronary-prone personality in the context of the relations among personality, emotional expression, and disease. Special consideration is given to mode of measurement of the Type A behavior pattern--Structural Interview (SI) versus Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS)--and to components and non-Type A correlates of the general coronary-prone construct. Fifty middle-aged men who had had a myocardial infarction were compared with 50 healthy controls in terms of relevant aspects of their psychological functioning. Results indicate that the SI is better than the JAS as a predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) because of its attention to emotional expressive style. Traditional emphases on hurry sickness in coronary proneness are deemed wholly inadequate. Furthermore, the results indicate that depression, anxiety, or both may relate to CHD independently of and in addition to Type A behavior. Other aspects of personality and social support are also discussed in the context of improving the construct of coronary proneness.
Friedman, HS; Booth-Kewley, S
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