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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 42.
Published online Jan 18, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-42
PMCID: PMC3398279
Type D personality is associated with impaired psychological status and unhealthy lifestyle in Icelandic cardiac patients: A cross-sectional study
Erla Svansdottir,1,2 Krista C van den Broek,1 Hrobjartur D Karlsson,2,3 Thorarinn Gudnason,3 and Johan Denolletcorresponding author1
1CoRPS--Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases, P.O. Box 90153, Tilburg University, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
2Icelandic Heart Association, Holtasmári 1, 201 Kópavogur, Iceland
3Landspitali-University Hospital, Landspítali Hringbraut, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Erla Svansdottir: E.svansdottir/at/uvt.nl; Krista C van den Broek: CvdBroek/at/uvt.nl; Hrobjartur D Karlsson: h.darri.karlsson/at/gmail.com; Thorarinn Gudnason: thorgudn/at/landspitali.is; Johan Denollet: j.denollet/at/uvt.nl
Received August 30, 2010; Accepted January 18, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Type D (distressed) personality has been associated with adverse cardiac prognosis and poor emotional well-being in cardiac patients, but it is still unclear what mechanisms link Type D personality with poor clinical outcomes in cardiac patients. In the present cohort of Icelandic cardiac patients, we examined potential pathways that may explain this relationship. The objectives were to examine 1) the association between Type D personality and impaired psychological status, and to explore whether this association is independent of disease severity; and 2) the association between Type D personality and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Methods
A sample of 268 Icelandic coronary angiography patients (74% males (N = 199); mean age 62.9 years (SD 10.5), range 28-85 years) completed the Type D Scale (DS14), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) at hospitalization. Health-related behaviors were assessed 4 months following angiography. Clinical data were collected from medical files.
Results
Type D personality was associated with an increased risk of anxiety (OR 2.97, 95% CI:1.55-5.69), depression (OR 4.01, 95% CI:1.42-11.29), and stress (OR 5.99, 95% CI:3.08-11.63), independent of demographic variables and disease severity. Furthermore, fish consumption was lower among Type Ds, as 21% of Type Ds versus 5% of non-Type Ds consumed fish < 1 a week (p < 0.001). Type D patients were also more likely to smoke at follow-up (22% versus 10%, p = 0.024) and to use antidepressants (17% versus 9%, p = 0.049) and sleeping pills (49% versus 33%, p = 0.019) compared to non-Type Ds. Type D personality was not associated with other health-related behaviors, aside from trends towards less fruit and vegetable consumption, and more weight gain.
Conclusion
Type D personality was associated with psychological distress and an unhealthy lifestyle in Icelandic cardiac patients. Future studies should further investigate the association between Type D personality and health-related behaviors.
Keywords: Coronary heart disease, Health-related behavior, Personality, Psychological, Risk factors
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