Impatience versus achievement strivings in the Type A pattern: Differential effects on students' health and academic achievement

Janet T. Spence, Robert L. Helmreich, Robert S. Pred
1987 Journal of Applied Psychology  
Psychometric analyses o f college students' responses to the Jenkins Activity Survey, a selfreport measure o f the Type A behavior pattern, revealed the presence of two relatively independent factors. Based o n these analyses? two scales, labeled Achievement Strivings (AS) and Impatience and Irritability ( 1 1 1 , were developed. In two samples o f male and female college students, scores o n AS but not on I 1 were found to be significantly correlated with grade point average. Responses to a
more » ... lth survey9 o n the other hand, indicated that frequency o f physical complaints was significantly correlated with I 1 but not with AS. These results suggest that there are two . --. relatively independent factors in the Type A pattern that have differential effects o n performance and health. Future research on the personality factors related to coronary heart disease and other disorders might more profitably focus o n the syndrome reflected in the I 1 scale than o n t h e Type A pattern. Impatience vs. Achievement 3 Impatience versus Achievement Strivings in the Type A Pattern: Differential Effects o n Students' Hea 1 t h and Ac adem i c Ac h i evemen t Based o n their observations o f patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), Friedman and Rosenman (1959, 1974) proposed that proneness to CHD is associated with a behavior pattern that they labeled Type A . In their formulation, people who exhibit the Type A pattern are characterized by ambitiousness, competitiveness, time urgency, impatience, and aggressiveness or hostility. Individuals who are relatively lacking in these characteristics are identified a s Type B. Several assessment devices have been developed to classify individuals a s Type A or B, the most commonly used being the Structured Interview technique (SI; Rosenman, Friedman, Straus, Wurm, Kositchek, Hahn, & Wethessen, 1964; Rosenman, 1978) and an objectively scored self-report measure3 the Jenkins CIctivity Survey for Health Predictions ( J A S ; Jenkins, Zyzanski, & Rosenman, 1971), designed to tap the s a m e Impatience vs. Achievement 4 characteristics as the SI. A student form o f the J A S in which items referring to job or job setting have been eliminated or modified by substituting references to school w o r k and the academic setting has also been developed (Krantz, Glas5, & Snyder, 1 9 7 4 ) . Studies using these several devices not only provide evidence for a link between the Type FI pattern and CHD but also suggest that this pattern may b e associated with related disorders (e.g.Many of t h e components of the Type A pattern involve achievement-related motives and behaviors commonly believed to contribute to successful academic and vocational performance. Although Friedman and Rosenman ( 1 9 7 4 ) have suggested that Type A s ' time urgency and emphasis o n quantity rather than quality of work may interfere with effective performance, general discussions o f the Type A concept typically imply that hard-driving, achievement-oriented people classified a5 Type A are m o r e likely to succeed than the more relaxed, le5s ambitious people classified a s Impatience vs. Achievement 5 Type B. Jenkins, Zyzanski, and Rosenman ( 1 9 7 1 ) stated, for example, that "Individuals with the [Type AI pattern are usually conscientiously committed to their occupation, and whatever its level, often have achieved success in i t (p. 194)". The evidence, although sparse, supports the view that, a 5 a group, Type A s outperform Type Bs. Thus, Type A college students have been found to earn more academic honors (Glass, 1977) and higher grades
doi:10.1037//0021-9010.72.4.522 fatcat:vp7jo3njobcjrm5h4q7tsqjjsy