Psychophysiological reactivity, depression, neuroticism and type a behaviour: An interactive effect?



The greater reactivity in Type A subjects is a controversial issue. It is possible that anxiety, neuroticism and depression interact with Type A behaviour pattern, giving rise to different psychophysiological reactivity. To evaluate this hypothesis we studied 70 Italian healthy male volunteers. All were blue-collar workers. Cardiac health was confirmed by a detailed family and medical history. Individual assessment included the Structured Interview, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Depression Questionnaire (QD). To assess cardiac (rate-pressure product) and electrodermic (skin conductance level) psychophysiological reactivity we used the following tasks: (1) Interactive Concentration Test (ICT); (2) Mental Arithmetic (MAT); (3) Workside Noises (WN). In Type A (A1 + A2) subjects a higher neuroticism score was associated with greater reactivity whereas in non A (X + B) subjects a lower neuroticism score was associated with greater reactivity. Subjects classified as Type A with lower depression scores had greater cardiovascular responses, whereas in non A subjects higher depression scores were associated with greater reactivity.