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Effect of Stress on Different Personality Pulse Rates

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  • Louise Rich

Title

Does mild stress have a significant effect on the pulse rate of type A personalities when compared to type B’s?

 

Introduction

When the body encounters stress the brain produces stress responses which are managed by the hypothalamus. Stress can have a negative physiological effect on the body, including a rise in heart rate. Different personality types and the ways in which they respond to the environment have been investigated to seek to establish if personality type makes them more prone to developing coronary heart disease (CHD).

Stress responses can be short-term ‘fight or flight’ (Canon, 1915), produced via the sypathomedullary pathway (SAM) or long-term which are regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). Bodies are designed to deal with short term stresses however if continually stressed they are unable to be at rest and the result of a high pulse is that it can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, higher cholesterol, and coronary artery disease.

In 1974 Friedman and Rosenman conducted studies to establish why some people were more prone to coronary heart disease (CHD) than others. They found that certain types of people had similar traits, type ‘A’s living lives at higher stress levels to type ‘B’s and that ‘A’s were twice as likely to develop CHD. The study was criticised for being gender biased, however the Framington Heart study in 1980 involved both men and women and found similar results. Of all the type A characteristics hostility has been found to be consistently linked with increased stress levels leading many to propose that it is this trait which had a determining effect rather than the whole of type A (Michael Myrtek, 2001). In March 2014 Mostofsky found that people were most at risk of suffering a heart attack in the 2 hours following an angry outburst.

From this evidence it can probably be concluded that type A personalities are more likely to respond physiologically differently to an environmental stressor than type B’s. (300 words)

Aim

This experiment aims to establish if type A personalities respond physiologically differently to a stressor that type B personalities. (19 words)

Alternate/Experimental Hypothesis

There will be a significant difference in comparable pulse rates for type A and type B personalities taken during a mildly stressful activity .

The alternate hypothesis is two tailed and non-directional. (32 words)

Null Hypothesis

There will be no significant difference between the pulse rates of Type A and Type B personalities when undertaking a mildly stressful activity. (23 words)

Method

Design

This was an experimental study which means that it was carried out under rigorous experimental conditions and allowed for the establishment of cause and effect relationships. The independent variable (IV), personality type, could therefore be manipulated in a systematic way to measure its effect on the dependent variable (DV), which was pulse rate. Independent subjects design was used to compare the measure of pulse rate (DV). (66 words)

Participants

Twenty subjects were chosen by way of opportunity sampling; 6 were male and 14 were female. They were all aged between 18 and 75 years. None of the participants had heart disease and the results were disclosed to the participants immediately after testing. (43 words)

Apparatus

  1. Friedman and Roseman Personality Questionnaire as a diagnostic tool (see Appendix A).
  2. Dot-to-dot picture (see Appendix B).
  3. Apparatus to record pulse rate.
  4. Data recording sheet for the results (see Appendix C).

Procedure

Stage 1

Participants were invited into a private room where they were briefed. This was delivered via a script (see Appendix D) in order to ensure that all participants were provided with the same information. Participants were advised that the test was a speed investigation and that the questionnaire was to find out whether a certain type of person is quicker than another. Participants were asked if they had a heart complaint prior to commencement of the investigation. Had they been the plan was to continue with the experiment but not use their data reducing the chance of confounding variables.

The test was administered and scored. Participants who fitted type A or B personalities were invite to stage 2 of the study. (119 words)

Stage 2

A pulse rate was taken before administration of the dot-to-dot (PR1) and the data recorded in the raw data sheet.

A separate pulse rate was taken as participant sought to find the missing dot (PR2) and again after the task was completed (PR3.

For ethical reasons participants were debriefed via a script (see Appendix E) and were provided with the opportunity to ask questions. Participants were given access to their results.

See Appendix F for raw data table. (78 words)

Results

Descriptive statistics showing personality type and pulse rate during the task.

 

Type A Personality

Type B Personality

Total

10

10

N

20

20

Mean PR

73 (0 DP)

75 (0 DP)

Median PR

72

76

Mode PR

72

80

Range

27

28

SD

See Appendix G for manual calculations

8

8

DP = decimal places

N= number of participants taking part in the study

PR = pulse rate GRPAH TO BE ADDED HERE

Treatment of Results

Using interval data and with both sets of scores having a similar standard deviation, the parametric t-test was most appropriate for the experimental study. It was a two tailed non directional test as the outcome was not predicted, simply that there would be a difference.

The level of significance was 5%/0.05.

There were 20 participants in total and one measure was compared, pulse rate (DV), measured in 5 second periods.

An independent samples t-test was conducted to compare pulse rate in type A and type B personalities.

There was no significant difference in the scores for IV type A personality (m=73, sd=8) and IV type B personality (m=75, sd=8) conditions; t=0.55, p=0.58 (see Appendix H).

Therefore the null hypothesis accepted and the hypothesis rejected.

The t-test formula is as follows:

Where:

(130 words)

References

Cannon, W. (1915): Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage. New York

Kiecolt-Glaser, J. (1984). Psychology class: Kiecolt-Glaser (1984). [ONLINE] Available at: http://psychologyclassaa.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/kiecolt-glaser-etal1984.html. [Accessed 09 May 2015].

Haynes, S. & Feinleib, M. (1980): Framlington Heart Study, Am J Public Health.

Mostofsky, E. (2014): Heart attack risk rises after anger outbursts Medical News Today. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273473.php. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

Friedman, M. & Rosenman, R.H. (1974): Type A Behaviour and Your Heart Knopf, New York

Bibliography

Web

The Science of Stress, Heart Rate and Breathing - Basis. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://en-gb.mybasis.com/blog/2013/10/the-science-of-stress-heart-rate-and-breathing/. [Accessed 15 May 2015].

CHANGE ACCESSED DATES

Biology of stress | Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS). 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.humanstress.ca/stress/what-is-stress/biology-of-stress.html. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

Data Preparation and Analysis - Research Methodology Course. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.uniteforsight.org/research-methodology/module5. [Accessed 09 May 2015].

GraphPad QuickCalcs: t test calculator. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.graphpad.com/quickcalcs/ttest2/. [Accessed 17 May 2015].

How do personality types impact people's responses to stress? - HowStuffWorks. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/stress-management/personality-types-impact-on-response-to-stress.htm. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

How to Write a Psychology Research Report | Simply Psychology. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/research-report.html. [Accessed 09 May 2015].

Keith E Rice - Stress and the Western Collaborative Group Study. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.integratedsociopsychology.net/stress-western_collaborative_group_study.html. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

Mann-Whitney test is not just a test of medians: differences in spread can be important. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1120984/. [Accessed 09 May 2015].

Stress - Psychology4A.com. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.psychology4a.com/stress.html. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

Stressors | Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS). 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.humanstress.ca/stress/what-is-stress/stressors.html. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

Type A and Type B personalities. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/typea_typeb.htm. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

Type A Personality | Simply Psychology. 2015. ONLINE] Available at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/personality-a.html. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

What is 'Stress'? | S-cool, the revision website. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/psychology/stress/revise-it/what-is-stress. [Accessed 05 May 2015].

What is the Stress Response | Simply Psychology. 2015. What is the Stress Response | Simply Psychology. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-biology.html. [Accessed 09 May 2015].

Publications

Cardwell, 2012. The Complete Companions: As Student Book for AQA A Psychology. 3rd Revised edition Edition. Oxford University Press.

Keith L. Moore, 1999. Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 4th Edition. 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Margaret Harris, 2002. The Resource Library: Developmental Psychology: A Student's Handbook. Student Edition. Psychology Press.

René Fester Kratz, 2010. Biology for Dummies. 2nd Edition. For Dummies.

Sandra Reynolds Tortora Gerard J.; Grabo, 2002. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 10th Edition . Wiley Publishing Inc.

Appendices

Appendix A Friedman and Roseman Personality Questionnaire

QUESTIONNAIRE

Instructions

Each of the 13 items listed below has two extremes (e.g. easy going – hard driving), one at each end of a continuous scale. Circle the number you feel most closely represents your own behaviour.

Appendix B Dot-to-dot Picture

DRAWING TASK

Instructions

Please join the jots below to complete the picture.

C:\Users\louise\AppData\Local\Temp\SNAGHTML16952822.PNG

Appendix C Data Recording Sheet

This sheet was stapled to the questionnaire and dot-to-dot puzzle after completion to organise the paperwork and record the details for easy reference when populating the raw data table.

Participant Number

 

Questionnaire Score

 

Type (circle as appropriate)

A B

PR Before Task

bpm

PR During Task

bpm

PR After Task

bpm

Appendix D Briefing Script

  1. Thank you for agreeing to take part in this experiment.
  2. I am conducting an experiment to review the time taken to complete a dot-to-dot puzzle and to establish if a certain type of person is quicker than another. I will share the results of the experiment with you when it is complete.
  3. First I would like you to complete the questionnaire please. Begin whenever you are ready.
  4. Now you have finished the questionnaire I am going to record your pulse rate.
  5. Next I would like you to complete a dot-to-dot, I will stop you at a certain point and take your pulse again. Once I have done this you may compete the puzzle and I will take your pulse rate when you have finished.
  6. I will now talk through the data I have recorded and provide further details regarding the experiment…

Appendix E Debriefing Script

The investigation was to establish what type of personality you have and to see how you responded to the mild stressor which was the missing dot. This was measured via your pulse.

Type A personalities tend to be competitive, typically in more of a hurry, multi-taskers, impatient and possess a ‘short fuse’.

Type B personalities tend to be relaxed, do one thing at a time and be more inclined to express their feelings.

The results of the test are A or B and your pulse rate was x.

Do you have any questions?

Thank you for taking part in this experiment.

Appendix F Raw Data Table

Type A Personality

Type B Personality

Participant Number

Personality Score (+)

PR1

PR2

PR3

Participant Number

Personality Score

PR1

PR2

PR3

1

4

64

66

62

4

-11

80

88

80

2

31

56

64

56

6

-10

72

80

68

3

43

64

68

62

13

-16

76

80

76

5

10

72

76

68

14

-11

76

80

80

7

3

64

72

60

15

-7

72

80

72

8

20

55

61

56

16

-8

68

72

68

9

3

79

84

74

17

-3

60

68

60

10

21

70

72

68

18

-15

64

72

64

11

13

72

80

74

19

-10

64

72

64

12

16

76

88

80

20

-27

52

60

56

Appendix G Standard Deviation Calculations

To calculate the SD of type A data NB: Mean = 73

First step is to calculate the variance. This is done by first calculating the difference between each score and the mean:

Score

Difference from the mean (Score - 73)

Difference²

         

66

-7

49

         

64

-9

81

         

68

-5

25

         

76

3

9

         

72

-1

1

         

61

-12

144

         

84

11

121

         

72

-1

1

         

80

7

49

         

88

15

225

         
 

TOTAL

705

         

To calculate the variance (σ) you need to average the difference result. This is calculated by dividing 705 by 10 (10 being the number of type A personality types). Therefore variance or σ = 71 (0 d.p.) Standard deviation is the square root of variance which is = 8 (0 d.p.) Standard deviation illustrates what is 'normal' and what is an extra low or high number as a result.

To calculate the SD of type B data NB: Mean = 75

         

First step is to calculate the variance. This is done by first calculating the difference between each score and the mean:

Score

Difference from the mean (Score - 73)

Difference²

         

88

13

169

         

80

5

25

         

80

5

25

         

80

5

25

         

80

5

25

         

72

-3

9

         

68

-7

49

         

72

-3

9

         

72

-3

9

         

60

-15

225

         
 

TOTAL

570

         

To calculate the variance (σ) you need to average the difference result. This is calculated by dividing 570 by 10 (10 being the number of type A personality types). Therefore variance or σ = 57 (0 d.p.) Standard deviation is the square root of variance which is = 8 (0 d.p.) Standard deviation illustrates what is 'normal' and what is an extra low or high number as a result.

Appendix H T-test Calculations

 


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