Are YOU a Type D personality?

Are YOU a Type D personality? Test reveals how the little-known character type is so good at bottling up emotions even THEY don’t realise they’re lonely and anxious

  • New research reveals Type D personalities are more prone to heart problems
  • Type Ds often suffer from anxiety, stress, loneliness and pessimism
  • But they’re so adept at ignoring feelings they don’t realise they feel down
  • Quiz to identify Type D assesses social inhibition and negative affectivity 

You’ve almost certainly heard of the Type A personality, denoting high achieving individuals, but if you don’t fit that mold, could you be a lesser known Type D?

A recent article in Psychology Today by psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne revealed how Type D stands for ‘distressed’, describing someone who is often anxious, stressed and lonely, but bottles up their feelings. 

She pointed to new research by the University of Northern Colorado’s Michael Allen, which shows that people with Type D personalities are more prone to conditions such as heart disease.

‘Paradoxically enough, Type D individuals may not actually experience anxiety and depression in terms of mood state (how they feel) because they suppress their negative emotions,’ she explained. 

‘Thus, as they try to reign in their negative feelings, they only exacerbate their risk of cardiac disease.’ 

The term was first devised by psychologist Johan Denollet from Tilburg University who created a quiz to identify a type D personality. 

Scroll down to take the test 

People with Type D personalities are prone to anxiety and loneliness, but are adept at bottling up their feelings (stock image) 

Below are a number of statements that people often use to describe themselves. 

Choose the number next to each statement that best reflects your feelings. 

There are no right or wrong answers, just be honest with yourself.

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What is a Type D personality?

People with a Type D personality are more likely to be anxious and lonely, or even suffering from traumam which can all have a negative impact on mental health.

They may also be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, but not for the same reasons as the highly-stressed Type A.

Type Ds may not even realise they are suffering from depression, anxiety and low mood because they do their best to push down negative emotions, which can increase the risk of cardiac disease.

There are three defining characteristics, including a high level of Behavioural Inhibition (BI), or a tendency to withdraw from unfamiliar situations. This makes people more prone to developing anxiety-related disorders if they’re exposed to environmental stresses.

Those with a Type D personality also suffer from higher levels of social inhibition, meaning they find it hard to open up to others and deal with meeting new people.

They’re also prone to negative affectivity – high levels of pessimism, worry and irritation. 


0 = false

1 = somewhat false  

2 = neutral

3 = somewhat true

4 = true

1) I make contact easily when I meet people 0 1 2 3 4 

2) I often talk to strangers 0 1 2 3 4 

3) I am often irritated 0 1 2 3 4

4) I often feel inhibited in social interactions 0 1 2 3 4

5) I take a gloomy view of things 0 1 2 3 4

6) I find it hard to start a conversation 0 1 2 3 4

7) I am often in a bad mood 0 1 2 3 4

8) I am a closed kind of person 0 1 2 3 4

9) I would rather keep people at a distance 0 1 2 3 4

10) I often make a fuss about unimportant things 0 1 2 3 4

11) I often feel unhappy 0 1 2 3 4 

12) I am often irritated 0 1 2 3 4 

13) I take a gloomy view of things 0 1 2 3 4 

14) I am often in a bad mood 0 1 2 3 4 

15) I often find myself worrying about something 0 1 2 3 4

16) I am often down in the dumps 0 1 2 3 4

17) When socialising, I don’t find the right things to talk about 0 1 2 3 4

Add your scores for questions one to nine to see how you score on the Negative Affectivity scale

On questions 10 and 11, if you circled 0, enter 4; if 1, enter 3; if 2, enter 2; if 3, enter 1; if 4, enter 0.

Add your scores for 10 to 17 to find out how you score on the Social Inhibition scale. 

You qualify as a type D personality if you scored 10 or higher on both Negative Affectivity and Social Inhibition scales.

If you score highly on the Social Inhibition scale, you may struggle with meeting your new people or striking up conversations (stock image) 


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