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
|Contact: Charles Emery|
Ohio State University