Monthly Article Archives: May 2006

A “Type D” Personality: The Impact of Stress and Loneliness on Our HealthRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

The headline on the October 3, 2005 cover of Newsweek read, “Forget Type A. Are You a ‘Type D’ Personality? Stress & Your Heart.” This issue of Newsweek contained several articles detailing the strong links between emotional and physical health, especially conditions that impacted on cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. The numerous research findings resonated with the ideas conveyed by Dr. Sam Goldstein and myself in our writings about a resilient lifestyle. These findings suggest that there are realistic steps that individuals can initiate to lead a healthier, more vibrant life. In an article authored by Dr. Michael Miller, a Type D personality was identified as one prone to distress. Miller highlights the observations of cardiac patients by Belgium psychologist Johan Denollet. The latter noticed that some heart attack survivors were cheerful and optimistic even after sustaining extensive heart damage and enthusiastically engaged in rehabilitation programs. In contrast, other survivors, even those who had experienced a mild heart attack, displayed a more pessimistic outlook and avoided rehabilitation activities. Denollet was intrigued by the differences between these two groups and developed a 14-question personality test, labeled DS14, to measure levels of distress. Miller writes, “The test defines overall distress in terms

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