Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 159–176 | Cite as

Components of the type A coronary-prone behavior pattern and cardiovascular responses to psychomotor performance challenge

  • Theodore M. Dembroski
  • James M. MacDougall
  • Jim L. Shields
  • John Petitto
  • Robert Lushene


The present study tested the general hypothesis that behavioral attributes most predictive of the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) in epidemiological research would also be most predictive of sympathetic autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal in response to performance challenges. Subjects (n=50) were challenged to respond rapidly and accurately on three tasks involving either perceptual-motor or cognitive skills, while the experimenter monitored blood pressure, heart rate, and galvanic skin potential. The hypothesis was generally confirmed in that (1) type A subjects showed significantly greater cardiovascular changes indicative of sympathetic ANS arousal than type B subjects, (2) the Rosenman and Friedman structured interview was a better predictor of this arousal than the Jenkins Activity Survey, as is the case in CHD, and (3) the stylistic and behavioral components of the type A pattern (as defined by the structured interview) which are most predictive of CHD were also found to be the best predictors of challenge-induced sympathetic ANS arousal. The implications of these results for refinements in the definition, assessment, and modification of coronary-prone behavior are discussed.

Key words

type A coronary-prone behavior physiological arousal cardiovascular reactivity performance challenge 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore M. Dembroski
    • 1
  • James M. MacDougall
    • 1
  • Jim L. Shields
    • 2
  • John Petitto
    • 1
  • Robert Lushene
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEckerd CollegeSt. Petersburg
  2. 2.Division of Heart and Vascular DiseasesNational Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteBethesda
  3. 3.Veterans Administration Outpatient ClinicSt. Petersburg

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