Type a behavior, irritability, and cardiovascular response
- Cite this article as:
- Smith, T.W., Houston, B.K. & Stucky, R.J. Motiv Emot (1984) 8: 221. doi:10.1007/BF00991890
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Previous research suggests that high levels of hostility may augment the cardiovascular reactivity and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) associated with Type A behavior. In contrast, other research indicates that the tendency to deny or suppress anger is associated with enhanced cardiovascular reactivity and risk of CHD. To delineate further the combined role of anger processes and Type A behavior in CHD risk, this study examined the interactive effects of Type A behavior and self-reported irritability on cardiovascular response to a challenging mental task. Type A and Type B college students were further classified as either high or low in self-reported irritability. Type A subjects who were low in self-reported irritability evidenced greater cardiovascular reactivity (i.e., systolic blood pressure and pulse rate) than did Type B subjects low in irritability. However, Type A subjects who were high in irritability tended to demonstrate less cardiovascular response than Type B subjects high in irritability. Further, Type A's low in self-reported irritability evidenced greater cardiovascular response than high-irritability Type A's. It is suggested that reduced reporting of irritability by Type A's may reflect suppression or denial, and further that this reduced reporting is associated with enhanced cardiovascular responsivity.