Personality has an Impact on Diabetes Mortality


It may sound strange but researchers have found that a patient’s personality has a direct impact on his risk of mortality due to diabetes. In a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers have found that in cases where patients suffering from type 1 diabetes had a type A personality, their risk of dying due to diabetes was significantly reduced.

For their study, the researchers, including Trevor J. Orchard and his colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, collected data from the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) study of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes. This includes a cohort of type 1 diabetes patients for 22 years. A total of 506 participants from this study were asked to complete the Bortner Rating Scale which provides information about their habits and behaviors. They were also asked to complete the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), which helped in assessing their depressive symptoms. In BDI, a score of 0 to 9 signifies minor depression while a score of 30 to 63 indicates major depression. During the follow up period of the study, 128 participants expired.

Type A personality improved the overall survival chances of patients with type 1 diabetes

After analyzing the results, the researchers observed that there is an inverse relationship between Bortner scores and mortality risk in diabetes patients. They found that every one point increase in the scores for type A behavior was associated with a 1% decrease in the risk of mortality. Type A personality is characterized by aggressiveness and a fierce determination to excel. However, in patients with Type A personality suffering from depression, the reduction in mortality was not so significant.

It may be that type A personality patients take rigorous care of their disease thereby increasing overall survival rates. However, when they suffer from depression, they may not be so fastidious in taking care of their diabetes. Therefore, the mortality risk is not reduced significantly. However, further research is needed to fully comprehend the nature of these associations.


Having a type A personality may improve survival in patients suffering from type 1 diabetes.


  1. Fickley C, Lloyd C, Orchard T, et al. Type A Behavior and Risk of All-Cause Mortality, CAD, and CAD-Related Mortality in a Type 1 Diabetic Population Diabetes Care.  doi: 10.2337/dc13-0266