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Emotions During Difficult Times Linked to Stress Response

Emotions During Difficult Times Linked to Stress Response  An individual’s emotional response to taxing situations appears to be linked to how stress affects the body.

“People who reported high levels of anger and anxiety after performing a laboratory-based stress task showed greater increases in a marker of inflammation, than those who remained relatively calm,” said Judith Carroll, Ph.D, who conducted the study at the University of Pittsburgh.

“This could help explain why some people with high levels of stress experience chronic health problems,” she added.

As a part of the study, investigators asked healthy middle-aged individuals to complete a speech in the laboratory in front of video camera and a panel of judges.

During the speech, they monitored the physical responses to the task and then afterward asked them about the emotions that they had experienced.

“Most people show increases in heart rate and blood pressure when they complete a stressful task,” explained Carroll, “but some also show increases in a circulating marker of inflammation known as interleukin-6.

“Our study shows that the people who have the biggest increases in this marker are the ones who show the greatest emotional responses to the task.”

“Our results raise the possibility that individuals who become angry or anxious when confronting relatively minor challenges in their lives are prone to increases in inflammation,” said lead author Anna Marsland, Ph.D.

“Over time, this may render these emotionally-reactive individuals more vulnerable to inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease,” she said.

The research, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, is part of a burgeoning field, known as psychoneuroimmunology, which investigates the interactions between psychological processes and health.

The research is published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Source: Elsevier

Emotions During Difficult Times Linked to Stress Response

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Emotions During Difficult Times Linked to Stress Response. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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