The influence of personality types on young people

What are personality types?

A personality type refers to a psychological classification of particular traits of individuals. Different personality types are attributed to traits and behaviours which will influence the way that an individual interacts and behaves in their environment, it is also perceived that this influences their motivations and actions.

Commonly, we will refer to Type A and Type B personalities. However, there are also more in depth personality assessments that can be completed such as the Myers Briggs personality types which encompasses 16 different personality combinations.


Why do we need to know?

Young people can often wonder why they are not the same as their friends, or why their behaviours, motivations or reactions can be different. Whilst we frequently review their environment, nurture, home lives and family interactions, it is less common to support them to develop a better understanding of their personality type. However, this knowledge can help them to increase their self-awareness, better understand their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and utilise their traits to their own benefit, as well as safeguard themselves from unnecessary stress, triggers or worries.

For the benefit of this article we will look at Type A and B personalities, but it is worth reviewing the many personality assessments, such as Myers-Briggs which may benefit young people, particularly in their education and reviewing career routes.


Type A personalities

Type A personalities share traits such as:

  • Being focussed
  • Being motivated
  • Liking discipline
  • Organised
  • Innovative
  • Determined
  • Impatient
  • Solution focussed
  • Goal orientated
  • High expectations of self
  • Self-critical
  • Need to feel in control
  • Approaches things with ferocity or aggression
  • More likely to get stressed

Type A personalities can become demotivated or frustrated when:

  • Things do not go to plan
  • If they have no goals or plans
  • In monotonous situations
  • If they feel they are wasting their time
  • If they feel others are wasting their time
  • By other people being lazy or incompetent
  • By failure
  • Delays or obstacles which they cannot control

Type A personalities thrive when:

  • They have a clear focus and purpose
  • When they are achieving things
  • When they feel in control
  • When they have a plan to follow

Type A personalities need to ensure:

  • They manage their stress levels
  • They practice self-care and relaxation practices
  • They eat nutritious foods
  • They sleep well
  • They have regular fresh air and exercise
  • They balance fun and work carefully to avoid burnout

Type B personalities

Type B personalities are one of the most common personality types, they share traits such as:

  • Flexible
  • Sociable
  • Relaxed
  • Empathetic
  • Less stressed
  • Creative
  • Tendency to procrastinate
  • Lower stress levels
  • Work well in groups
  • Relaxed or laid back attitude
  • Easy going
  • Optimistic
  • Can be more ‘messy’ in their approach and organisation
  • Broad minded
  • Enjoy having ‘fun’
  • Savour experiences
  • Can put things off to the last minute
  • May be perceived as the ‘class clown’ or ‘lazy’

Type B personalities can become demotivated or frustrated when:

  • When they feel that schedules are too strict or limiting
  • When they feel rushed or pressured
  • When they have not managed their time
  • They feel that they are not listened to or being taken advantage of

Type B personalities thrive when:

  • They can share their success with others
  • They have time to work through things
  • People recognise their achievements or efforts
  • They are working in flexible or creative environments
  • They have a good balance of work and fun

Type B personalities need to ensure:

  • That they set strong goals and are accountable
  • They establish good, strong routines and schedules
  • They use their time effectively
  • They do not let their need for fun hinder their success
  • They balance their need for fun with professionalism
  • They break goals and targets into smaller parts to make steady progress


How can we use personality types to support young people?

Whilst everyone is unique, if there are traits in students that you recognise as being Type A or Type B, it can allow you to make adaptations to support them. For instance, consider how you may support around managing deadlines, expectations, exams or assessments. In addition, how you may support them to ensure that expectations are realistic and they incorporate a balance of work and play to keep mental health and emotional well-being positive.


Further help 

For more articles about mental health visit –

To learn more about child and adolescent mental health visit –

For resources to support child and adolescent mental health visit –

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