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Anger more Harmful than Sadness for Health

Anger more Harmful than Sadness for Health

Saturday, 11 May, 2019 - 05:15
FILE PHOTO: A pharmacy technician at the Amsterdam UMC hospital demonstrates a procedure for mixing and preparing a medicine and distributing it in capsules, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
A study carried out by Canadian researchers and published in the journal American Psychological Association found that anger is more harmful than sadness for older adults and may lead potentially to increased inflammation which is associated with chronic illnesses like heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

Meaghan Barlow of Concordia University, and lead author of the study, said: "As most people age, they simply cannot do the activities they once did, or they may experience the loss of a spouse or a decline in their physical mobility and they can become angry. Our study showed that anger can lead to the development of chronic illnesses, whereas sadness did not."

Barlow and her co-authors examined whether anger and sadness contributed to inflammation, an immune response by the body to perceived threats, such as infection or tissue damage. While inflammation in general helps protect the body and assists in healing, long-lasting inflammation can lead to chronic illnesses in old age, according to the authors.

The researchers collected and analyzed data from 226 older adults ages 59 to 93 from Montreal. They grouped participants as being in early old age, 59 to 79 years old or advanced old age, 80 years old and older.

The authors also measured inflammation from blood samples and compared them with the anger and sadness feelings expressed in a questionnaire filled by the participants.

According to the findings, experiencing anger daily was related to higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness for people 80 years old and older, but not for younger seniors. However, the researchers noted that not all negative emotions are inherently bad and can be beneficial under certain circumstances.

"Anger is an energizing emotion that can help motivate people to pursue life goals," said Barlow.

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