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The prevalence of type A personality in the children of alcoholics

Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 10(2): 184-189
The prevalence of type A personality in the children of alcoholics
Three studies are reported which investigate the prevalency of an excess risk of type A personality in the children of alchoholics (COAs). Reports in the clinical literature suggest there is an excess risk of type A in COAs, but this has never been empirically demonstrated. The Mattews Youth Test for Health (MYTH) was administered to nonalcoholic mothers of 46 COAs and 65 matched controls to measure children's type A competitiveness and impatience-aggression. Results were significant only for greater impatience-aggresssion in COAs. In a second study, 104 COAs and controls matched for age, sex, race, and father's occupational status were rated by military fathers of intact families using MYTH. The results of the first study were not replicated for COAs, and there was no correlation between a father's Jenkins Activity Scale (JAS) score and his child's type A personality. A third study of 70 matched COAs and controls used the Hunter-Wolf A-B Rating scale, a self-rating scale for children and found no significant differences in children's type A personalities based on membership in an alcoholic family, sex, or birth order. It was concluded that the discrepancy between clinical reports and the present data may have been due to misperceptions about successful, hardworking COAs who, particularly in contrast to their more notorious siblings, may be viewed as "workaholics" and improperly labeled as type A personalities.

Accession: 006740550

PMID: 3521376

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