People who experience a lot of negative emotions and do not express them have more mental and physical health problems, research finds.
This is known to psychologists as a ‘type D’ personality: the ‘D’ stands for distressed.
People with a type D personality are likely to agree with statements like, “I am often down in the dumps”.
They are also likely to demonstrate social inhibition by agreeing with statements like, “I am a closed kind of person”.
Type D people are fearful of rejection if they express their negative emotions.
Around one-in-five people is thought to have a type D personality.
The study found that people who were type D tended not to report their health problems to a physician or nurse.
The study’s authors write:
“Type D patients were shown to report lower levels of health status, more cardiac symptoms, and more feelings of disability, when compared with non-Type D patients high on positive affect.”
The study involved 276 heart failure patients.
The results showed that heart failure patients who also had a type D personality were six times more likely to be in a worse state of health.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Quality of Life Research (Pelle et al., 2009).