Aggressive power-seekers are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack, according to a new study released by the University of Utah.
Psychologist Timothy Smith led the study. He says the way people pursue career success and social status can have a negative effect on their heart health.
“Letting it happen through the freely-granted respect from other people doesn’t seem to raise your risk. It’s that sort of forcing the issue—being aggressive and intimidating with other people, trying to increase your status that way, that seems to place people at risk,” says Smith.
Smith says many people with such aggressive personalities would argue that it’s because of that relentlessness that they’re successful. But he says those achievements come at a price. “What’s unhealthy about this aggressive, dominant style is it creates stress in peoples’ lives, usually in the form of strain and conflict in their relationships,” he says.
And that, Smith says, puts people at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smith says although it’s not easy for people with these personalities, it is possible to learn how to relax, which can lead to a healthier heart.