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Influence of Individual Differences on Stress

Influence of Individual Differences on Stress

 Influence of Individual Differences on Stress


           A number of research works have been carried out in order to find out how the individual differences affect stress. The experts have come up with multiple different theories. According to Friedman and Rosenman (1959), the human beings can be basically divided into two distinct categories namely Type A and Type B. On the other hand, Kobasa (1979) introduced the theory of hardiness according to which, the response to the stress depends on the personality-oriented or characteristic hardiness of every human being. Then again, Bandura (1977) has suggested that self-efficacy plays a crucial role in determining an individual's stress level and his/her behavioral manner to deal with the stress.



                        According to Friedman and Rosenman (1959), the individuals with Type  A personality usually tend to demonstrate aggressiveness, desire to achieve higher rewards through competition, and attempt to emphasize on time-management in order to get the assigned tasks completed within quick time. On the other hand, the individuals with Type B personality do not have these traits as they tend to distance themselves from competition, do not get easily motivated, do not nourish ambitions, and usually come up late with the tasks assigned to them. It has been proven through studies that the individuals with Type B personality have the higher competence to appropriately deal with stress than those individuals with Type B personality (Ragland & Brand, 1988). There is another kind of personality which has been termed as Type C. These individuals usually have the traits similar to the Type A individuals, but they demonstrate qualities of Type B individuals when they face or experience any kind of stress.


            Kobasa (1979) has clarified that the individuals with hardy personality usually attempt to take control over the surrounding atmosphere, get committed to the tasks assigned to them, and find solutions for various kinds of challenges presented to them. In this manner, these individuals often demonstrate expertise in decision-making and coping with stress simply because they take up stress as a challenge and attempt to find out the most viable solution without getting harmed (Lifton et al., 2006).

            Bandura (1977) introduced the theory of self-efficacy in stress-response and stress-management. Self-efficacy relates to an individual's capacity to utilize his/her beliefs and motivation to deal with a challenging situation. In this manner, if an individual has a high level of self-efficacy, this particular aspect would lead him/her to get more comprehensive control over a stressful situation by decreasing the stress levels. Then again, an individual with low-level of self-efficacy is unable to appropriately deal with the stressful circumstances. Thus these aspects influence and determine how the individual differences affect stress.


            It has been critically pointed out that different experts and scholars assess the impact of individual differences on the stress response from different points of view. However, each of those diverse viewpoints provide an opportunity to evaluate how the personality and individual traits may influence an individual to cope with and to respond to a stressful situation in a particular manner. From an overall perspective, it is clear that individual characteristics and personality traits lead the individuals to respond to traits in distinct ways either fruitfully or negatively.


Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change.        Psychological Review, 84 (2), 191-215.


Friedman, M., & Rosenman, R. (1959). Association of specific overt behavior pattern with blood             and cardiovascular findings. Journal of the American Medical Association, 169, 1286-  1296.

Kobasa, S. C. (1979). Stressful life events, personality, and health – Inquiry into hardiness.           Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37 (1), 1-11.

Lifton, D., Seay, S., McCarly, N., Olive-Taylor, R., Seeger, R., & Bigbee, D. (2006). Correlating Hardiness with Graduation Persistence. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 10 (3), 277-282.

Ragland, D.R., & Brand, R.J. (1988). Type A behavior and mortality from coronary heart             disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, 318 (2), 65-69.




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