Type A personality and Type B personality characteristics are completely different from each other. It is crucial that we identify these traits to know ourselves and others.
There are four main personality types – Type A, B, C and D. However, Type A and Type B personalities are perhaps the most unique and contrasting personality types. Understanding how they function and what motivates them can enable us to understand ourselves better and build stronger interpersonal relationships and connections.
Origin of Type A and Type B personality
The Type A, B, C and D personalities were introduced by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman during the 1950s. The researchers studied these personality types to understand how our personalities can act as a predictor for heart disease in later life. An article in The Guardian explains that after studying 3,000 healthy men between the ages 35-59 for 9 years, the researchers discovered that “certain patterns of behaviour carried a higher risk, and devised a method for categorising patients as either type A, type B or type AB (for those who defied easy categorisation).”
According to Rosenman and Friedman, individuals with Type A personality traits tend to be highly organized, ambitious, competitive, impatient, aggressive, controlling, hostile and workaholics. Whereas Type B personalities are relaxed, flexible, tolerant, emotionally expressive, explainable, less stressed and tend to have a laid-back attitude. However, the Type A and Type B personality hypothesis is a bit more complex than that. The researchers found that type A personality is more likely to have a high risk of heart disease, while Type B personalities experience high levels of life satisfaction.
Understanding Type A personality
The Type A personality refers to a “collection of behaviors” that involves a sense of urgency and aggressiveness about accomplishing tasks. They like to control the people around them, the environment they are in and their own lives. Although they might not be detail-oriented, they are very goal-oriented.
This personality tends to be highly practical and have a no-nonsense approach in finding solutions. These individuals are usually dominant, entrepreneurial, passionate, seeks independence, competitive, fast-paced and good at multitasking. However, they do tend to be stubborn, impatient, short tempered, intolerant, insensitive and workaholic. Moreover, they are generally motivated by challenges, opportunities, risks, success, leadership and money. As they are constantly driven and determined to succeed, they can get easily stressed out and hence they have a higher risk of heart disease.
According to an article in Healthline, “Having a type A personality often means you find your time very valuable.” Not only do you focus more on concrete ideas and tasks at hand, “you may also be prone to criticizing yourself, especially if you had to leave something undone or feel you didn’t do a good job.”
Type A personality behavior traits
Although the specific characteristics of Type A personality are not fully known, here are some common characteristics of Type A Behavior Pattern (TABP)
1. Time urgency & impatience
This personality type constantly experiences a sense of urgency. Being highly impatient, they are always running against the clock to get something done. They often get annoyed and frustrated while waiting for something and are constantly aware of the time.
Saul Mcleod, psychology teaching assistant and published researcher for The University of Manchester, Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology, writes “they quickly become impatient with delays and unproductive time, schedule commitments too tightly, and try to do more than one thing at a time.”
2. Aggressiveness and hostility
These individuals are often easily angered and can react aggressively when they get frustrated, disappointed or impatient. Wellness coach and author Elizabeth Scott, MS explains “Free-floating hostility or aggressiveness, which shows up as impatience, rudeness, being easily upset over small things, or having a short fuse.”
Saul explains “Such individuals tend to see the worst in others, displaying anger, envy and a lack of compassion.” Aggression and hostility are the primary factors that increase their chances of developing heart disease.
Type A individuals feel that they need to succeed at everything they do, whether it’s their careers or relationships. Being self-critical and highly competitive, they pursue their goals with a strong focus on the outcome instead of enjoying the process or their accomplishments. According to Saul, they also experience significant life imbalance. He adds “This is characterized by a high work involvement. Type A individuals are easily ‘wound up’ and tend to overreact. They also tend to have high blood pressure (hypertension).”