Type D personality is not associated with coronary heart disease risk in a North American sample of retirement-aged adults

Noel C. Larson, Steven D. Barger, Sumner J. Sydeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Type D personality is associated with recurrent coronary heart disease (CHD) risk but there is limited and inconsistent evidence regarding incident risk among persons free of clinical CHD. Purpose: We examined the association between Type D personality and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in apparently healthy adults. We also explored the association of these traits with waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and inhibited physician consultation behavior. Methods: Cross-sectional study of North American retirement-aged residents (N = 303). The primary outcome variable was a modified 10-year absolute CHD risk score from the Framingham Heart Study. Secondary outcomes included adiposity and a 5-item measure of patient/provider interaction inhibition. We regressed CHD risk on negative affect (NA), social inhibition (SI), and the NAxSI interaction (i.e., the Type D personality) and repeated these analyses for adiposity and for patient/provider interaction inhibition. We also contrasted CHD risk across Type D and non-Type D categories. Results: None of the personality variables were associated with CHD risk for the whole sample (regression coefficients from -0.11 to.10, Ps > 0.29) or in gender-specific analyses. For adiposity, NA was positively associated and SI was negatively associated with BMI in women (Ps < 0.05), but there were no other personality associations. Patient/provider interaction inhibition was associated with SI (P < 0.001) but not NA or the NAxSI interaction (P = 0.42). The contrast between Type D and non-Type D personality revealed no differences in CHD risk (P = 0.93). Conclusions: Neither Type D nor its constituent NA and SI traits were associated with absolute incident CHD risk in retirement-aged adults free of reported CHD. Optimal analytic practices and attention to patient/provider interaction behavior will improve our understanding of the association between Type D personality traits and health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cross sectional study
  • Negative affect
  • Risk factors
  • Type D personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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