Type D Personality

Type D Personality
Last Updated: June 23, 2023

What is Type D Personality?

If you have a type D personality, you frequently experience unpleasant feelings but hold those emotions inside for fear of being rejected or looked down upon if you express them.

Type D personality style is occasionally domineering. They gravitate toward management and leadership roles and want to take the initiative rather than follow. Because of their propensity for great self-confidence, risk-taking, and problem-solving, they are often looked to by others for guidance and decisions.

Studies on the impact of Type D personality on clinical and psychological outcomes have exploded in the last ten years. The tendency to experience negative affect and social inhibition has been characterized as a type D personality trait. People who score highly on negative affectivity are likely to feel negative emotions. In contrast, those who score highly on social inhibition try to suppress these feelings out of apprehension of being rejected or criticized by others. Type D personalities are defined as having substantial amounts of both personality traits.

Type D Personality: Empirical Research


Type D personality has been associated with several health and social outcomes, including a higher risk of cardiac events (for a meta-analysis, see Grande, Romppel, & Barth, 2012) and poor medication adherence (Williams, O'Connor, Grubb, & O'Carroll, 2011). According to Type D theory, the interaction of NA and SI is crucial because experiencing emotional anguish while being unable to express it puts a person under much stress and increases their risk of developing major health issues (Denollet et al., 1995). ​

Related: Type A Personality vs Type B Personality

Type D Personality: How to Recognize Type D

Type D Personality

Researchers have created a standard test called the Type D Scale-14 (DS14) to identify people with type D personality features and how it links with dangers to physical health. This instrument aids in measuring social inhibition and unfavourable affectivity in research subjects.

Negative affectivity and social inhibition are both highly prevalent in Type D personalities. Social inhibition is the tendency for people to avoid social events and relationships, sometimes out of a fear of being rejected or judged and a lack of self-assurance. People with negative affectivity feel emotions like melancholy, concern, and irritation.

Related: Type C Personality

Type D Personality: Health Concerns About Type D Personality

People with type D personalities may be at risk for general psychological discomfort, which is known to have an impact on both mental and physical health, according to a 2010 review. People with a type D personality, for instance, encounter:

  1. Additional signs of distress, worry, and despair
  2. An appreciably worse state of health and increased somatic problems (such as pain and exhaustion)

Type D Personality: Emotional Difficulties

Many of us may feel vulnerable while sharing our feelings with those close to us. For someone with type D personality qualities, sharing emotions with others might feel terrifying.

People with type D personalities frequently worry about being rejected or judged by others; hence, they often go to great lengths to conceal their feelings. People with type D qualities may struggle to trust others emotionally, especially during difficult times, in addition to their fear of rejection and criticism.

Additionally, Type D personality traits are associated with greater interpersonal challenges. Avoiding potential risks associated with social contact is one of the characteristics of social inhibition. As a result, they experience social anxiety, shyness, tension, and inhibition.

Type D personality negative affectivity, such as depression, frequently involves social and interpersonal issues that directly result in low self-esteem (Gupta & Basak, 2013). According to Huis, Vingerhoets, and Denollet (2011), negative affectivity leads to dissatisfaction with one's accomplishments and outward appearance.

Type D personality

Type D Personality: Physical Health

A large amount of research reveals the high prevalence of Type D personality among people with health problems, especially heart diseases (Denollet, 2000; Kupper & Denollet, 2016; Molina-Leyva, Caparros-Delmoral, Ruiz-Carrascosa, Naranjo-Sintes, & Jimenez-Moleon, 2015; Mommersteeg, Kupper, & Denollet, 2010; van Middendorp et al., 2016).

According to Denollet et al. (2005), the synergistic effect of high NA and high SI is the most indicative of poor health, particularly a poor prognosis for the heart. Type D personality can affect health conditions, cause heart disease and lower quality of life satisfaction (Sogaro et al., 2015).

Type D personalities and life satisfaction

Numerous predictors of life satisfaction have been looked at in earlier studies. Gana et al. (2013) investigated the link between old persons' physical health and life satisfaction. The findings demonstrated that while life satisfaction did not predict future levels of health, poor health strongly predicts future levels of unhappiness.

Female domestic workers in India were investigated in Daraei and Mohajery's (2013) investigation of the effect of socioeconomic level on life satisfaction. According to their research, life satisfaction positively correlates with occupation, education, family income, and husband's line of work.

Joshanloo and Afshari (2011) discovered that the Big Five personality traits might account for around 25% of the variance in life satisfaction levels. Extraversion and neuroticism were discovered to be the most effective predictors of life satisfaction among these characteristics.

All of the studies above show that a variety of elements, such as personality types and features, one of which is Type D (Distressed) personality, interact to affect life satisfaction. This phrase refers to the propensity to suppress emotional expression in social interactions (SI) and to suffer negative affectivity (NA). A high level of NA results in increased anxiety and irritation over time and in many contexts.

Related: Does Personality Matter in Life

Type D personality at work

Related: Why Your Personality Matters When You Choose A Career Path

Understanding how each of the four personality types will affect behaviour in the workplace is crucial when it comes to the four personality types. Like the other types, Type D personalities can be challenging to comprehend. They crave other people's acceptance, respect, and real appreciation. As long as they feel needed and valued, the Type D personality will happily put forth great effort to please those they work for. They require that feeling of safety. People with Type D personalities frequently perceive Type A personalities as wild for taking so many chances and having little regard for longevity and security.

Related: Personality and Career Interest: Everything you Need to Know

Type D Personality: Pros and Drawbacks of Hiring People With Type D Personalities

Because they are frequently extremely structured, people with Type D personality traits find chaos and disarray upsetting. They are typically highly loving, thoughtful, and sympathetic and effectively play a supportive role with others. They listen well, are patient, and keep going even after everyone else has given up. They have a calming influence and enjoy working in teams or groups.

They might not be as quick as some, but they are precise and comprehensive. Even if a more forceful type appears to be taking advantage of them, they'll typically keep their feelings to themselves and are unwilling to express themselves. They frequently agree to anything.

Related: Agreeableness Personality: The Bas Side of This Trait 

Frequently Asked Questions About Type D Personality

What Other Personality Types Are There?

Several different personality types can be categorized as follows:

  • Type A people are aggressive, competitive, irritable, hostile, impatient, and impatient.
  • Type B: unhurried, laid-back, patient, less stressed
  • Type C: powerless, passive, repressed, intensely focused on others, unable to express emotions


Why is taking into account Type D personality type is crucial when making hiring decisions?

Understanding what a Type D personality is like before you hire someone or think about promoting someone inside the company will be strategically advantageous. The benefit of knowing a candidate's suitability for a position and their interpersonal style before they even start working for the company cannot be overstated.

Typically very organized, type D personalities can be quite helpful to others. Typically, they are exceedingly considerate, caring, and sensitive. They will feel uncomfortable in a messy or disorganized setting. They are also the last people to give up after others have.

They appear tranquil and enjoy the status quo for as long as possible. However, type D personalities tend to think negatively and predict a dismal future, preferring to see the positive aspects as half-full. When dealing with this personality type, it's important to strike a delicate balance between encouraging them and providing them with the time and space they need to do their work.

Related: Everything you Need to Know About The Type A and Type B Personalities

Cindy Baker
Trish Makiwa
I completed my Bachelor Honors in Psychology at the University of Zimbabwe. I have been working at Industrial Psychology Consultants as the front office administrator and PA to the managing consultant. It is my dream in life to continue learning and pursuing in the Human Resource and administration field and be a big asset/value to any institution which will use my services.

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