Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 61 Issue 1 (March 1988), Pages 1-110

Type A behaviour and the healthy individual (pages 37-56)

The Type A behaviour pattern (TABP) is an interesting and controversial construct that has generated debate, empirical testing, and behavioural modification attempts. TABP is depicted as consisting of impatient or hurried behaviour, a strong orientation toward work responsibilities and task completion, and intensive competitive behaviour in situations that involve evaluation. Recently, the importance of what is called the anger/hostility dimension has been emphasized in research studies. After more than two decades of debate, testing, and attempting to modify the entire TABP there is now a growing acceptance of the proposition that a major overhaul or change in the TABP is not necessary or even feasible. The Type A person is also now being presented as possessing many desirable characteristics and healthy behaviours that are worth reinforcing. The present paper provides a brief review of the contradictory research evidence surrounding the Type A syndrome. Theorists, researchers, and organizational practitioners are encouraged to seek improvements in understanding the TABP through improved assessment and how it can be modified in generally healthy individuals. A theoretical model to guide improvement efforts in measurement and intervention is provided as a viable framework to examine causal pathways between antecedents, Type A core behaviours, responses, and consequences.

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