Type A Behaviour

Clinical Psychology – Type A Behaviour Case Study


In the article on Clinical Psychology – Case Studies, we mentioned how stress and heart attacks can be linked to Type A behaviour. So what is Type A Behaviour.


Bill is in his late 50s. He has had a heart attack, but is now recovering. He is referred to a stress management group as heart attacks are linked to stress and how people cope with their stress. There is a type of behaviour, called Type A behaviour, where a person shows typical responses to stress.


Characteristics of Type A Behaviour –

  • Hyper behaviour, such as talking fast, using lots of hand gestures when talking, eats fast, walks fast.
  • Polyphasic – doing many things at once, thinking about many things at once, trying to make lots of decisions about same things at once.
  • Dichotomous thinking – thinking about things as right or wrong, black or white
  • Perfectionist
  • Angry
  • Impatient
  • Hard driving – trouble relaxing
  • Time compulsive – tries to squeeze as much as possible into available time, hates being late.


So if there is Type A behaviour, there is also Type B. People with Type B behaviour may show different characteristics. For example –

  • Not so concerned with time, but tend to be more punctual.
  • Talk slower
  • Take things more slowly, eg. Eat slower.
  • Are more sequential in their decision making, thinking and behaviour.
  • They will work on one thing to the end, before they move onto the next.
  • Tend not to be perfectionists, but will still produce work of a high standard.


Clinical Psychologists may use stress management strategies to encourage them to change their hurry up behaviour. This behaviour can be accompanied by hyperarousal and replace chronic type A behaviours with type B behaviours.


ACS Distance Education offer a range of courses that may be of interest to you if you are interested in clinical psychology as a future career –


http://www.acsedu.co.uk/Courses/Psychology/ABNORMAL-PSYCHOLOGY-BPS307-509.aspx Abnormal psychology


http://www.acsedu.co.uk/Courses/Psychology/ADOLESCENT-PSYCHOLOGY-BPS211-583.aspx Adolescent psychology


http://www.acsedu.co.uk/Courses/Psychology/ADVANCED-CERTIFICATE-IN-PSYCHOLOGY-VPS011-472.aspx Advanced Certificate in Psychology


http://www.acsedu.co.uk/Courses/Psychology/ASSOCIATE-DIPLOMA-IN-PSYCHOLOGY-VPS010-441.aspx Associate Diploma in Psychology


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