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Barbara Bradley Bolen, Ph.D.

IBS and Type D Personality

By February 13, 2012

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It was news to me that there are apparently more personality types than the "Type A" personality we are all familiar with - ambitious, competitive and highly stressed. In contrast, "Type B" is the personality type that many of us would love to be - mellow and easy-going. The newest kid on the block is the "Type D" personality. The Type D personality is a construct used by health researchers who are looking for connections between personality types and health problems. Apparently Type D personalities are people who tend to experience a high degree of negative emotions and to feel inhibited and stressed when interacting with others. Research in this area has been primarily done on men who have coronary heart disease, but having a this type of personality has been associated with poorer health and quality of life in patients with a wide variety of health ailments. A new study has taken a look at a relationship between IBS, Quality of Life and the Type D personality.

Close to 200 IBS patients participated in the study and filled out surveys relating to Type D personality traits, severity of IBS symptoms, and Quality of Life. Study findings revealed a rate of 40% of Type D personalities. This is in contrast to an estimated 20-something percent of the general population. The study participants who were identified as being Type D suffered from a lower quality of life than the others.

Always remember that the results of one study only offer a glimpse at reality as more studies will need to be performed before any conclusions can be made on the subject. However, if you see yourself as perhaps being a Type D personality, you may want to try a round of psychotherapy to work on reducing your low mood/anxiety state and increase your comfort level with others. Anything that can help improve your quality of life is definitely a good thing!

Related Reading from Dr. Bolen, your IBS Guide:


Sararoudi,R., et.al. "Type D personality and quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome" Journal of Research in Medical Sciences 2011 16:985-982.

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February 23, 2012 at 9:23 am
(1) robin says:

Is type d related to HSP? Highly sensitive people?

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