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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2010 Jan 23;8:9. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-8-9.

Type D personality in the general population: a systematic review of health status, mechanisms of disease, and work-related problems.

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CoRPS - Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases, Department of Medical Psychology, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.



The objective was to review all available literature concerning Type D (distressed) personality among the general population and to discuss its implications for research on health status, disease-promoting mechanisms and work-related problems in non-clinical populations.


A computerized search of the literature was performed independently and in duplicate by both investigators on December 21st, 2009. Published research reports were included if they studied Type D personality among the general population. Nineteen articles were selected and they were subjected to an 11-item standardised quality checklist by both investigators.


The methodological quality of the selected studies was adequate to high. The studies included in this review showed that the presence of Type D characteristics had a negative impact on mental health status (more symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental distress, passive coping, and less social support) and physical health status (more somatic complaints, lower health status, more influenza-like illness reporting). Other studies reported on behavioral and biological mechanisms of disease in apparently healthy individuals with a Type D personality. Finally, some studies also showed a negative effect of Type D personality on work-related problems (higher absence-leave, higher levels of vital exhaustion and burnout, and more work-related stress).


Type D personality is a vulnerability factor for general psychological distress that affects mental and physical health status and is associated with disease-promoting mechanisms and work-related problems in apparently healthy individuals.

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