Type A and Type B Personality Theory

Type A and Type B personality theory simply classes people as having one of 2 types of personality:

Type A: Highly strung, outgoing, adventurous, driven…
Type B: Easy going, relaxed, patient, reserved…

this theory was originally created in the 1950s as a way of categorising patients according to their risk of developing coronary heart disease.

CardiologistsMeyer Friedman and Mike Jordan concluded after a 10 year study of healthy men (in the 1950s) that those with what they classed as Type A behaviour had double the risk of coronary heart disease.

Though this research has undoubtedly had an influence on the development of psychological and personality type theory in the years since, relating to the connection between mental and physical health – and is a useful and simple theory for reference, it has also been widely criticised (mainly due to too many other factors/variables not being accounted for in the original study, such as diet).

Despite the criticisms, the terms ‘Type A’ and ‘Type B’ are easy to use and often still are by some to describe general character traits fitting the original theory.

Extreme Type A personalities are often high-achieving workaholics who push themselves to their limits of success and have a low tolerance for failure or deadlines being missed, constantly striving for more and better.  these types are classic cases for burn-out, stress, anger issues etc.

There is also an AB type for those who cannot easily be categorised as A or B.

Type B is clearly more relaxed and therefore less susceptible to the medical conditions which are a higher risk in Type A personalities.  A Type B person may be seen as a Type A person to be so disinterested as to be a waste of space, often described as being disengaged.  Such clashes could lead to unfair problems in the workplace with hostility brought about purely by personality type (rather than actual work tasks, capacity or ability) causing hostility to surface from the Type A personality, directed at the Type B personality.


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