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Type A and Type B


Explanations > Preferences > Type A and Type B

Type A | Type B | So what?


A simple division of preference or personality type is into Type A and Type B, which is based broadly on anxiety and stress levels.

Type A

The Type A personality generally lives at a higher stress level. This is driven by

  • They enjoy achievement of goals, with greater enjoyment in achieving of more difficult goals. They are thus constantly working hard to achieve these.
  • They find it difficult to stop, even when they have achieved goals.
  • They feel the pressure of time, constantly working flat out.
  • They are highly competitive and will, if necessary create competition.
  • They hate failure and will work hard to avoid it.
  • They are generally pretty fit and often well-educated (a result of their anxiety).

Type B

The Type B personality generally lives at a lower stress level and are typically:

  • They work steadily, enjoying achievements but not becoming stressed when they are not achieved.
  • When faced with competition, they do not mind losing and either enjoy the game or back down.
  • They may be creative and enjoy exploring ideas and concepts.
  • They are often reflective, thinking about the outer and inner worlds.


This typing was first described in relation heart disease in the 1950s by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R. H. Rosenham. It subsequently appeared in the Jenkins Activity Survey, which was originated to detect behaviors which lead to heart attacks (Jenkins, Ayzanski, Rosenman, 1971).

Dr. Redford Williams, a cardiologist at Duke University, later showed that the main hazard in this is when the Type A person has a tendency to anger and hostility

A subsequent study has challenged even this, throwing the whole validity of this typing as a predictor of heart attacks into doubt.

Nevertheless, it is a simple typing difference and perhaps aligns with the Big Five factor of 'neuroticism', or tendency to anxiety.

In the Jungian Type Inventory, Type A looks more left-side STJ whilst Type B might be more right-side NFP.

So what?

In use, you might notice your own tendencies towards anxiety and stress which, whilst not necessarily leading to heart attacks, can still lead to many stress-related disorders.

In persuading others the tendency towards A or B will affect your strategy. Whilst challenging a Type A would likely be very effective, it would not with Type B (where a more reflective conversation could be a better approach).

See also

Jungian Type Inventory, Big Five factors


Friedman, M. (1996). Type A Behavior: Its Diagnosis and Treatment. New York: Plenum Press (Kluwer Academic Press)

Jenkins, C.D., Zyzanski, S.J., & Rosenman, R.H. (1971). Progress toward validation of computer-scored test for the type A coronary-prone behavior pattern. Psychosomatic Medicine, 33, 193-202

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