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May 28, 1982

'Type A' personalities in men 'mellowed' by beta blockers

JAMA. 1982;247(20):2759-2760. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320450005002

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The use of β-blockers to treat hypertensive men can actually change type A personality behavior—itself a risk factor for coronary heart disease—toward type B, according to a group of West German physicians.

The report was given at the recent American Psychosomatic Society meeting in Denver, where it attracted considerable interest. Investigators were Roland Schmieder, MD, Heinz Rüddel, MD, G. Friedrich, MD, and H. Neus, all of the Department of Medicine, University of Bonn. (Schmieder and Rüddel are currently at the Department of Preventive and Stress Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.)

Type A temperament, the hard-charging sort of personality linked some years ago with heart disease, is characterized by several "stylistics," Rüddel told the meeting: loud and explosive speech, rapid and accelerated speaking, response latency, hostility, and verbal competition.

About 70% of male hypertensive patients are type A, he said. They also manifest higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels and