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More knowledge not always helpful for women dealing with heart disease
Date:5/4/2011

diagnosed with at least stage C congestive heart failure as categorized by the American College of Cardiology, meaning they had structural heart damage, experienced symptoms that might include shortness of breath and swelling in the legs and abdomen, and were managing the disease with medication. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle is weakened, resulting in reduced blood flow throughout the body.

The researchers asked the participants to complete a number of questionnaires to measure their coping styles, illness knowledge, emotional quality of life and physical quality of life.

Women's coping styles were categorized in three ways: anger-in, or a tendency to withhold angry emotions; alexithymia, or difficulty identifying and describing feelings; and emotional expressivity, which could be either low or high.

Overall, the women reported elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to national data on these symptoms in healthy adults.

Depressive symptoms which can include loneliness, sadness, fear, sleep problems and an unshakable sense of the "blues" as well as anxiety symptoms were associated with repression of anger, difficulty describing feelings and low emotional expressivity. Those with a higher level of emotional expression were less likely to report depressive symptoms.

"The basic idea is very simple: that in general, it is better to express your emotions than to hold them in," said Emery, also an investigator in Ohio State's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. "The correlations in this paper are exactly what one would expect."

And when the researchers then factored in how much the women knew about their illness, a clear link emerged between higher knowledge and more depressive symptoms in women who repressed their anger.

"These are women who would not want to deal with their negative emotions. I think the reason we're seeing this pattern is that if you're sc
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Contact: Charles Emery
emery.33@osu.edu
614-688-3061
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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