Associations between Hunter Type A/B Personality and Cardiovascular Risk Factors from Adolescence through Young Adulthood

Benjamin D. Pollock, Wei Chen, Emily W. Harville, Lydia A. Bazzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Type A personality, characterized by action-oriented tendencies, has been linked to cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and elderly adults. Alternatively, limited research has tested whether personality type A/B and cardiovascular (CVD) risk are linked prior to adulthood. Therefore, we used the Hunter-Wolf A/B personality score to determine whether personality type A/B is associated with traditional CVD risk factors during adolescence, and more importantly if personality type, or its individual type A components, are associated with cardiovascular risk through young adulthood. This study is the first to assess personality type A/B on a continuous spectrum with regard to its relationship with cardiovascular disease risk, as well as the first to examine this association in a biracial, adolescent population. Methods: Subjects (3396) from the Bogalusa Heart Study were surveyed from 1984 to 1986, and multivariable regression was used to test adjusted, cross-sectional associations between personality type A/B, as determined by Hunter-Wolf A/B personality questionnaire, and CVD risk factors during adolescence. To test whether associations existed longitudinally, subjects were followed through 2007, and general estimating equation (GEE) models were used to examine the associations of personality type A/B with CVD risk factors, as well as with Framingham risk score as a global score of CVD risk. The component traits of type A personality (leadership, hard-driving, eagerness-energy, and impatience-aggression) were tested individually to determine their independent, longitudinal associations with global CVD risk. Results: Baseline mean (SD) age was 15.9(5.2). Mean(SD) Hunter-Wolf score in was 96.9 (11.6). After adjustment, more type A Hunter-Wolf scores were cross-sectionally associated with lower alcohol consumption (p = 0.03), female gender (p < 0.0001), and black race (p < 0.0001) in adolescence. After follow-up (median = 11 years), personality type A/B as the continuous Hunter-Wolf score was non-linearly associated with young adult BMI (p = 0.01), fasting blood glucose (p < 0.01), and Framingham score (p = 0.05). Of the type A components, leadership and hard-driving were non-linearly associated with Framingham risk at follow-up (both p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Adolescent personality type A is associated with female gender and black race. Generally, type A children have higher CVD risk during young adulthood, though this relationship is non-linear. Additionally, adolescents exhibiting strong leadership-oriented personality traits have worse cardiovascular risk profiles in early adulthood, whereas hard-driving adolescent personalities are protective of young adult CVD risk. Our results warrant consideration of personality as a continuous, non-categorical, trait in studies of cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Childhood
  • Personality type
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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