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The Invention of the ‘Type A’ Personality

Stashed in: Personality, Freakonomics

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It needed to be invented?

So it's a condition.

The observation led to a paper, in 1959, that explored the association between a “specific overt behavior pattern” and coronary disease. Rosenman and Friedman defined this “overt behavior pattern A” as: 

1) an intense, sustained drive to achieve self-selected but usually poorly defined goals 

2) profound inclination and eagerness to compete 

3) persistent desire for recognition and advancement

4) continuous involvement in multiple and diverse functions constantly subject to time restrictions (deadlines) 

5) habitual propensity to accelerate the rate of execution of many physical and mental functions

6) extraordinary mental and physical alertness.

In other words, the cardiologists argued that harried, goal-oriented people got heart attacks. Two years later, at theurging of a public health director, they slimmed down their terminology from “overt behavior pattern A” and “overt behavior pattern B” to Type A and Type B.

So the harder you work the more likely you'll get a heart attack?!

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