Reasons for the trend toward null findings in research on Type A behavior

Psychol Bull. 1991 Nov;110(3):469-85. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.110.3.469.


The findings of many studies conducted before 1978 suggest that Type A behavior (TAB) contributes to the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). In contrast, many recent studies have found no association between these variables. Through meta-analysis, several reasons for null findings are identified. First, a type of range restriction bias, disease-based spectrum (DBS) bias, produced many null findings. A study is vulnerable to DBS bias when researchers select only high-risk or diseased Ss for study. Second, self-report measures of TAB were often associated with null findings. Finally, null results were found for all studies that used fatal myocardial infarction as a disease criterion. In addition to identifying the reasons for null findings, this research suggests that TAB, as assessed by the structured interview, is associated with CHD. More Type As (70%) were found in diseased populations of middle-aged men than in healthy populations of middle-aged men (46%).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Type A Personality*