COLUMBUS, Ohio Women with congestive heart failure who repress their emotions, especially anger, are more likely than emotionally expressive women to experience symptoms of depression associated with knowledge about their disease, according to new research.
Coping styles of women in the study influenced how depressed or anxious they felt. The less they talked about or expressed their emotions, the more likely they were to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.
When Ohio State University researchers examined the influence of knowledge about their illness on the patients' mental well-being, they found that some women with heart failure felt worse emotionally when they had more information about the disease. For those women -- who tend to deny their emotions -- less information is better. For them, certain types of knowledge can actually lower their emotional quality of life, according to the research.
The findings of this pilot study suggest that clinicians should consider patients' individual coping styles when educating them about their illness, the researchers say. For example, women who cope by denying their emotions might become particularly distressed by information that provokes fear such as learning about the increased risk of hospitalization as a consequence of not taking medication or exercising enough.
"We're not saying knowledge is not a good thing," said Charles Emery, professor of psychology at Ohio State and co-author of the study. "For patients who are greater in denial, knowledge seemed to be a negative factor. Whereas for people who either had difficulty expressing emotion or putting a label on their emotion, knowledge is still beneficial."
Emery co-authored the study with Jamie Jackson, a former Ohio State graduate student who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. The study is published in a recent issue of the journal Heart & Lung.
The study involved 35 women
|Contact: Charles Emery|
Ohio State University