Coronary-prone behavior pattern and interpersonal aggression

Charles S. Carver, David C. Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


An overt behavior pattern called Type A has been implicated in the etiology of coronary heart disease. Pattern A is often characterized in terms of 3 components: competitive achievement striving, time urgency, and aggressiveness. The noncoronary-prone Pattern B is defined as the relative absence of Type A characteristics. Experimentation has shown that 2 of the components of Pattern A--achievement striving and time urgency--emerge only when appropriate situations confront susceptible individuals. The present research was designed to show that the aggressiveness component is also elicited when the Type A individual is challenged by appropriate environmental circumstances. Male undergraduates were exposed to a situation that did or did not threaten their sense of competence and mastery. An opportunity was then given to administer an electric shock to a confederate involved in the threat. In Study 1 with 23 As and 25 Bs as determined by the Jenkins Activity Survey, the instigation procedure increased aggression among As but did so to a lesser degree among Bs. In Study 2 with 38 As and 43 Bs, a similar instigation difference between As and Bs occurred, along with a larger difference in a frustration-only condition. Findings are discussed in terms of Pattern A as a response style for maintaining and asserting control over the physical and social environment. Consideration is also given to possible associations between Pattern A traits and biochemical processes that characterize coronary disease. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1978


  • denigration of task efforts, aggressiveness component of Type A coronary-prone behavior, male college students
  • interference &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology


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