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Patients with documented coronary artery disease, admitted to Duke Medical Center between 1974 and 1980, were assessed for type A behavior pattern and were followed until 1984. The relation of type A behavior to survival was tested using data from coronary angiography to control for disease severity. Cox model regression analyses demonstrated an interaction (p less than 0.01) between type A behavior and an index of disease severity in the prediction of cardiovascular death. Among those with relatively poor left ventricular function, type A patients had better survival than type B. This difference was not present among patients with better prognoses. Type A behavior did not predict the subsequent incidence of nonfatal myocardial infarctions. Differential risk modification and differential selection into postinfarction status are possible explanations for the findings. These results need not conflict with the proposition that type A behavior plays a role in the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease.