Type A and type B are two main personality categories. People with type A personalities may be ambitious, competitive, and aggressive. People with type B personalities may be patient, flexible, and laid-back.
Personality refers to the pattern of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that make each individual who they are.
Personality can affect how people interact with others, their approach to work, and how they respond to stressful events.
A person may have a Type A or B personality depending on the key characteristics they display. These traits may impact their work or studies and their interactions with others. They may also affect their health.
This article examines the differences in type A and B personalities, key traits, and what the research suggests about personality types.
A person with a type A personality may be ambitious and hardworking and display characteristics such as aggression, lack of patience, and determination.
If a person, or others around them, describes themselves as a “workaholic,” they may be more likely to have a type A personality.
Type A personalities may take on multiple tasks at once and frequently take on extra responsibilities to achieve or succeed.
Type A personalities may be very goal-orientated and work toward goals and deadlines at a fast pace, as though they are racing against time.
Type A people may easily feel frustration and anger and may be more vulnerable to stress.
Type A traits
Traits of a type A personality may include:
- having an aggressive nature
- being focused on achievement
- being hardworking
- being confident
- being easily irritated or intolerant
- being determined
- being unfriendly or hostile
- being good at multitasking
- having a sense of urgency
- being highly competitive
- being impatient
- being motivated and highly driven
- being energetic
- being hasty or approaching activities at a fast pace
- having low emotional intelligence
- being controlling
- being stubborn or having fixed opinions
A type B personality is the opposite in many ways of a type A personality. People with a type B personality tend to be easygoing and more laid-back in nature.
People with a type B personality may work steadily toward a goal without the sense of urgency a type A personality may display.
Type B personalities usually do not feel the need to prove their abilities to others or the need to show superiority. People with a type B personality usually have low levels of competitiveness and do not become frustrated easily.
People with a type B personality may be friendly and get on easily with others, showing low levels of hostility or aggression.
Type B traits
Traits of a type B personality can include:
- being peaceful
- being relaxed
- being easygoing
- being stress-free or less prone to stress
- having a lack of sense of urgency to complete tasks and procrastinating
- having a lack of conflict with others
- being stable
- being even-tempered
- being flexible and adaptable, adjusting to change easily
- being less competitive
- being able to approach activities and tasks at a slower pace
The concept of type A and B personality types originated in the United States in the 1970s with cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman.
Friedman and Rosenman used the term “behavior pattern A” to describe a particular pattern of emotions and actions people displayed, which people later referred to as type A personality.
Their research suggested a link between type A personality and coronary heart disease, but later investigations show that much of the research linking the two received funding from tobacco companies.
Researchers use certain interviews and rating scales to determine whether people have type A or B behavior patterns, including:
- Friedman and Rosenman questions, which may be similar to this online questionnaire
- Jenkins Activity Survey
- Framingham Type A Scale
- Bortner Rating Scale
People may be able to access some of these questionnaires online or through a healthcare professional.
People can also take a range of personality tests to give them an idea of which personality traits they have.
Research has revealed how personality types may affect different areas of a person’s life. Understanding personality types or tendencies may help people better navigate individual challenges with their studies, work, or health.
Work and academic achievement
A 2019 study compared academic achievement between university students with type A and type B personalities.
Both personality types had characteristics that were both beneficial and detrimental to academic achievement.
Certain characteristics of type A personality, such as being hardworking and goal-orientated, increased academic achievement. Higher levels of hostility and impatience had a negative correlation to academic achievement.
Certain characteristics of a type B personality, such as being easygoing, having a lack of focus on study, and procrastination, linked to a decrease in academic achievement. Patience, taking tasks one by one, and sociability linked to an increase in academic achievement.
Overall, the study suggests students with type A personalities may achieve higher academic achievements.
According to a 2017 study, people with a type A personality may be more at risk of stress and burnout than people with a type B personality.
This may be due to the different approaches people with type A or type B personalities take to deal with and manage stress.
People with type B personalities may be more adaptive and tolerant and more capable of managing stress, reducing the risk of stress-related health issues.
A 2019 study looked at the effects that mental and physical stress had on the heart in people with type A and B personality types.
The study concluded that mental stress may be harmful to both personality types, whereas physical stress may be beneficial to people with type A personalities.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there is no solid evidence to suggest a link between type A personality and an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Research does suggest that hostility, a trait of type A personality, may link to the development of heart disease.
According to a 2018 review, impatience and hostility are two of the main components of a type A personality and may increase the risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.
A and B personality types refer to key characteristics and patterns of behavior a person has that may affect their approach to work, interactions with others, and response to stressors.
People with a type A personality may be ambitious, hardworking, competitive, and have a sense of urgency toward deadlines. Type A individuals may display aggression and intolerance, and may provoke easily.
People with a type B personality may be easygoing and laid-back and approach tasks with less urgency. Type B personality traits include patience, flexibility, and an even temper. People with a type B personality may be more prone to procrastination or distraction from a task.
Certain traits of a type A personality, such as hostility, impatience, and anger, may be risk factors for high blood pressure and heart disease.
People with these personality traits may want to develop coping strategies to allow them to manage stress in a healthy way to help prevent stress-related health issues.