How to Define a Type A Personality

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Type A personalities are more likely to suffer from acute stress.
Type A personalities are more likely to suffer from acute stress. (Image: Ryouchin/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The term "Type A," used to describe a personality style, was created by cardiologists to categorize people who were more prone to develop heart disease. Typically, people described as having a Type A personality are more likely to suffer from acute stress. They can be assertive, goal oriented, determined and high strung. These people tend to value order, control and punctuality. People with Type A personalities can be male or female, young or old, and of any race or nationality. To define a Type A personality, one must understand the most common characteristics attributed to this type of person.

Needing to control one’s environment is a key Type A personality characteristic. In work situations, these people tend to be pushy and bossy, which makes them seem aggressive. According to the American Psychological Association, Type A's want everything to go their way. To this end, they are driven and work long hours. But they are often difficult to work with, particularly in group situations. They can be impatient when working with others and will insist that their way is the best way.

Excessive competitiveness is another key characteristic of the Type A personality. Because they tend to be so competitive, Type A's will push themselves to win and achieve. They often compare their accomplishments to the achievements of others. They want to be the best at what they do, and are considered driven and determined. Sometimes playing games with this type of person be exhausting.

Driving aggressively is a dangerous trait of the Type A personality. Their overwhelming sense of urgency can push them to drive faster, and they often speed to get places. These people drive offensively rather than defensively. They are more prone to road rage and can have anger management issues.

Managing multiple aspects of their lives with order and precision is a positive characteristic of the Type A personality. They are often perfectionists, and though it may take a toll on them emotionally, the work they produce is often flawless and exceptional.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since Type A personalities tend to suffer from acute stress, it is important to teach them how to manage their stress.
  • Because of their high stress levels, Type A personalities should be evaluated for heart disease as they get older.

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