People with Type D -Distressed- personality have a general tendency towards increased negative affectivity (NA), while at the same time inhibiting these emotions in social situations (SI). Type D personality is associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease. Whether Type D personality is a cardiovascular risk factor in healthy populations remains to be investigated. In the present study, the relations between Type D personality and classical cardiovascular risk factors, i.e. metabolic syndrome and lifestyle were investigated in a Dutch community sample.
In a cross-sectional study 1592 participants were included, aged 20-80 years. Metabolic syndrome was defined by self-report, following the International Diabetes Federation -IDF- guidelines including an increased waist circumference, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes. In addition lifestyle factors smoking, alcohol use, exercise and dietary habits were examined. Metabolic syndrome prevalence was stratified by Type D personality (a high score on both NA and SI), lifestyle and confounders age, gender, having a partner, higher education level, cardiac history, family history of cardiovascular disease.
Metabolic syndrome was more prevalent in persons with a Type D personality (13% vs. 6%). Persons with Type D personality made poorer lifestyle choices, adhered less to the physical activity norm (OR=1.5, 95%CI=1.1-2.0, p=.02), had a less varied diet (OR=0.50, 95%CI=0.40-0.70, p<.0005), and were less likely to restrict their fat intake (OR=0.70, 95%CI=0.50-0.90, p=.01). Type D personality was related to a twofold increased risk of metabolic syndrome (OR=2.2, 95%CI=1.2-4.0, p=.011), independent of lifestyle factors and confounders.
Type D personality is related to an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome and unhealthy lifestyle, which suggests both behavioral and biological vulnerability for development of cardiovascular disorders and diabetes.