In a recent study, researchers found a bad mood, such as anger, sadness, and fear, is linked to higher levels of inflammation and may signal hidden health problems.
The research was conducted by a team at Penn State University.
Inflammation is the body’s immune response to harmful things like infections, wounds, or damage to tissues.
Chronic inflammation could lead to many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Previous studies have shown that depression and hostility are linked to higher inflammation.
In the current study, the team examined participants’ feelings over a period of time. The people reported how they were feeling in the moment, in daily life.
The researchers also ran blood tests to check inflammation.
The participants were from the Bronx, New York, as part of the larger Effects of Stress on Cognitive Aging, Physiology, and Emotion (ESCAPE) study. They were socio-economically, racially and ethnically diverse.
The researchers found bad mood over time is linked to higher levels of inflammation. In addition, the timing of mood measurement relative to the blood draw mattered.
For example, there was a stronger link between momentary bad mood and inflammation when the bad mood was assessed closer in time to blood collection.
The researchers hope their findings can help with the understanding of the connections between mood and inflammation.
Their results may help inspire future research to examine how intervention in daily life can improve mood and help individuals cope with stress.
Moreover, the findings may help develop new psychosocial interventions that boost health and break a cycle that can cause chronic inflammation, disability, and disease.
The study is the first linking momentary and recalled measures of mood to the measures of inflammation.
The lead author of the study is Jennifer Graham-Engeland, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State.
The study is published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
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