Heart patients with the 'distressed' personality type are more prone to a higher risk of further heart problems, discovered a new study.
The findings are based on an analysis of previous reports involving more than 6,000 patients.
The personality classification system that identified "Type A" decades ago more recently defined Type D as a personality marked by chronic negative emotions, pessimism and social inhibition.
Researchers noted a three-fold increase for Type D heart patients in risk of future cardiovascular issues such as peripheral artery disease, angioplasty or bypass procedures, heart failure, heart transplantation, heart attack or death.
"Type D patients tend to experience increased levels of anxiety, irritation and depressed mood across situations and time, while not sharing these emotions with others because of fear of disapproval," said Viola Spek, Ph.D., senior author of the study and a researcher at Tiburg University in the Netherlands.
"We found that Type D personality predicts mortality and morbidity in these patients, independent of traditional medical risk factors."
Researchers analyzed 49 studies of Type D personality and future heart health or psychological health. A Type D profile was also linked to a three-fold increase in long-term risk of psychological conditions including clinical depression, anxiety or poor mental health.
Screening heart patients for such personality traits could give doctors the chance to intervene early with psychological or behavioral counseling and perhaps improve cardiovascular outcomes.
"Type D personality and depression are distinct manifestations of psychological distress, with independent cardiovascular effects," said Johan Denollet, lead author of the study. "Our findings support the simultaneous use of depression and Type D measures to flag high-risk patients."
The study has been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. (