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.
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The study was published in the journal Quality of Life Research (Pelle et al., 2009).