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The Relationship Between Personality And Stress

  • Date Submitted: 02/10/2013 07:17 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.2 
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Discuss research into the relationship between personality and stress.
It has been suggested that personality differences affect levels of stress. Friedman and
Rosenman (1974) believe that personality types can be divided into two groups- Type A and
type B.
Type A personalities tend to have the following traits: very active, impatient and
impulsive, whereas type B would be laid back, easy going and relaxed.Friedman and Rosenman proposed that those with a Type A personality are more susceptible to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and are generally a lot more stressed than Type B's. Evidence from 'Western Collaborative Group Study' supports this idea, although subsequent research has not been as supportive.
Aspects of Type A personality including anger and hostility are the most important factors in
CHD. Type C personalities have also been linked to cancer, although there is no evidence to
suggest that this type of personality actually causes cancer.

Morris et al (1981) conducted a study of 50 women awaiting treatment for a breast
lump. Morris found that those women who were subsequently found to have a malignant lump had reported that they both expressed far less anger than those women diagnosed with a tumour. Morris noticed a link between cancer and suppression of anger, increased anger and lowered immune system.
Another link between stress and personality has been suggested by Kobasa's concept of the hardy personality. Kobasa (1979) argued that people differ considerably in their ability to cope with stressors. Some people cope very well with stressful situations whilst others break down under very little pressure. The term 'hardiness' describes a clutter of traits possessed by people able to cope with stress. Three characteristics of 'hardy' types, identified by Kobasa include: the ability to seek challenges and be in control of them, being in control of their lives and commitment - those with a hardy' personality have more direction in life. This...

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