Emotional (non)-expression and health: Data, questions, and challenges

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    Abstract

    The available evidence on the relationship between expression and non-expression of emotions (E/NE) and health is selectively and critically reviewed. It is concluded that research in this field still lacks conceptual lucidity with regard to the many existing E/NE concepts. Despite the fact that few studies adopted appropriate designs for examining causal relationships, some intriguing results have been reported showing promise for the future. These results involve prospective associations between E/NE and chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease and HIV infection related outcomes. Future studies have to better discriminate between (i) various forms of E/NE, (ii) different (social) contexts of E/NE as well as different cognitive decision processes underlying E/NE, and (iii) individuals for whom different forms of E/NE may be adaptive. We recommend that besides (quasi)experimental studies on the potential mechanisms involved, more prospective studies are conducted in this field in order to allow for causal inferences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)517-528
    JournalPsychology & Health: Official journal of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS)
    Volume17
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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