Describe and evaluate how personality affects stress
There are important differences in the way that people react to stress. Research has established that some personality characteristics make us more vulnerable to the negative effects of stress, while others make us more resistant.
Type A personality describes a person who is continually involved in a struggle to achieve a lot, in little time. Friedman and Rosenman believed that Type A individuals possessed the following characteristics; competitiveness and achievement striving, impatience and time urgency, and hostility and aggressiveness. They found that these traits would lead to high blood pressure and raised levels of stress hormone, which are both linked with illness, notably coronary heart disease (CHD). However, Type B individuals lacked the said traits, and were more relaxed, patient and calm. To assess that CHD was associated with Type A personality, Friedman and Rosenman conducted a longitudinal study over 8.5 years on 8000 male participants between the ages of 39-59 in California without heart disease. They were classified in to two personality groups, types A and B through a structured interview containing 25 questions on how they respond to everyday life. These interviews were conducted in a provocative manner to try to elicit type A responses. They were then screened for signs of CHD. Type As were typically more competitive and impatient while Bs were relaxed and patient in the interview. They found that after 8.5 years, twice as many type A participants had died of cardiovascular problems than type B. Type A individuals also had higher blood pressure and cholesterol.
A criticism of this study is that it was an androgynous study. Therefore, findings are not typical of woman because woman weren’t studied, and they could display much different results compared to the men.
A second criticism is that if participants knew they were in a study which involved screening for CHD, it may affect...