Evidence for a cognitive bias of interpretation toward threat in individuals with a Type D personality

Delphine Grynberg, Yori Gidron, Johan Denollet, Olivier Luminet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biological and behavioral mediators link Type D personality with a poor prognosis in heart disease. However, the mediator role of cognitive biases is still unknown. This study tested whether Type D individuals exhibit an interpretative bias for ambiguous social situations. For this aim we examined Type D and non-Type D individuals' evaluations of written social situations that varied in terms of situations' clarity (clear, ambiguous) and social judgment (neutral, negative). A convenience sample of 42 young, healthy adults rated each situation in relation to the difficulty of formulating a verbal response, anticipated distress, and perceived threat, and they completed the Type D personality scale (DS14; Denollet, 2005). Results showed an interpretation bias among Type D individuals, as they rated ambiguous or neutral situations as significantly more distressing compared to non-Type D individuals. Only clearly negative situations were rated similarly by Type D and non-Type D individuals. The discussion suggests that this interpretation bias in Type D individuals would increase their vulnerability to perceived stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was supported by grants from the Belgian National Funds for Scientific Research (FNRS-FRS) to Delphine Grynberg (Research Fellow). This study was supported by grants and from the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research granted to Olivier Luminet (Senior Research associate). This research was also supported by a Joined Research Grant (ARC 06/11-337) from the Belgian French Community to Olivier Luminet, and by a VICI grant (#453-04-004) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to Johan Denollet. We thank Betty Chang for her help in improving the manuscript.


  • Ambiguity
  • Interpretation Bias
  • Social Judgment
  • Threat
  • Type D personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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