Different Type A behavior dimensions have divergent influence on work stress

High job demands combined with low job control or imbalance between efforts and rewards at work are characteristics that may cause stress at work.

Stress at work

PhD Taina Hintsa and colleagues of Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, studied whether different dimensions of Type A behavior have divergent influence on job strain and effort-reward imbalance. The study was published in the January number of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The results showed that different Type A behavior dimensions have divergent influences on work stress.

“We studied the components of Type A behavior because there is evidence that different components may have divergent implications for different outcomes such as educational attainment and health. Some of them might even prevent work stress”, Hintsa says.

The study is based on a follow-up study of coronary heart disease among Finnish children from The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. The study started 1980 with follow-ups every three years until 1992 and after that in 1997, 2001 and 2007.

“Type A behavior is characterized by aggression, feelings of time urgency, competiveness and hard-driving”, Taina Hintsa explains.

Leadership is characterized by willingness to win and being a leader in activities; aggression by getting angry easily; hard-driving by effortful competiveness and eagerness-energy by a sense of time urgency.

“The results showed that leadership predicted low work stress whereas aggression, hard-driving and eagerness-energy may predispose employees to work stress” Taina Hintsa points out.

Individual differences in work stress research are often ignored because work stress is considered to originate mainly from work.

“Examining both employees´ characteristics and work characteristics seems essential in planning and implementing successful prevention and intervention strategies for reducing work stress,” Hintsa concludes it.

Read more:

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Text: Nathalie Edman
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

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