Re-examination of the relationship between the Type A behavior pattern and heart rate recovery from a psychosocial stressor
Kaszor, Nicolette Debora
Master of Arts
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A recent study by Hart and Jamieson (1983) reported that Type A males recover from a psychosocial stressor significantly slower than their Type B counterparts. It is unclear, however, whether this result is a robust one, or the result of an element of social comparison which was present during performance of and recovery from the stimulus task. The present study therefore reexamined this issue. Sixty-one male and 61 female undergraduate university students completed the Jenkins Activity Survey (Form T) and were then randomly assigned to either a social comparison or no social comparison group. Subjects in both conditions performed the Stroop color word task under conditions stressing time urgency and competition. In addition, subjects in the social comparison group were informed that their scores would be compared to the scores of other subjects who had already participated in the study. Heart rate was recorded before, during and after performance of the task. Hart and Jamieson's study was not replicated. The social comparison group which was expecting feedback at the end of the recovery period showed significantly (p<.025) less heart rate recovery during this period. No A/B differences were observed either in response to or recovery from the task. The failure to replicate the finding by Hart and Jamieson suggests that the previous report be interpreted with caution until further replications are attempted.