We studied 1035 consecutive postinfarction patients to determine the feasibility of altering type A behavior and the effect such alteration might have on subsequent rates of infarction and cardiovascular death. Approximately 300 subjects were enrolled in small groups and primarily received cardiologic counseling on the usually accepted coronary risk factors. Six hundred subjects received, in addition to cardiologic counseling, advice and instructions designed to diminish the intensity of their type A behavior. The remaining subjects, serving as controls, received no counseling, but were examined and interviewed annually, as were those who dropped out of counseling groups. More than 98% of the 1035 subjects exhibited moderate-to-severe type A behavior during a videotaped structured interview. After the first year of this 5-year study, the rates of infarction and cardiovascular death were lower (p less than 0.01 and p less than 0.05, respectively) among subjects who received both cardiologic and behavioral counseling than among the control subjects. The rate of nonfatal infarction was lower (p less than 0.05) among subjects who received behavioral counseling than among those who received only cardiologic counseling or those who dropped out of either counseling group. The circumstances that most often preceded recurrent infarction or cardiovascular death were emotional crisis, excess physical activity, ingestion of a single fatty meal or a combination of these phenomena.