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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.
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.
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.
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.