Emotional expression and health

Richard B. Slatcher, James W. Pennebaker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A longstanding puzzle within psychology and psychosomatic medicine concerns the relationship between the expression of emotions and physical health. Descartes and Shakespeare suggested that not expressing powerful emotions could be unhealthy. Similarly, William James (1890) and Franz Alexander (1950) forcefully argued that inhibiting the expression of strong emotions over time could result in physical health problems through basic biological stress-related channels (see ‘Psychoneuroimmunology’ and ‘Psychosomatics’). Despite these early hypotheses, there is still no overwhelming evidence to support the idea that the suppression of emotional expression is unhealthy and, conversely, that the open expression of emotions is beneficial. Emotional expression has been viewed by our culture somewhat ambivalently. On the one hand, emotional expression is often viewed as rather uncivilized, as ‘giving in’ to passion (King & Emmons, 1990, p. 864). On the other hand, it is assumed that emotions usually should be let out, that the healthy end to an emotional response is emotional expression. This view is especially common in the psychological literature. From Breuer and Freud (1895/1966) to the present (e.g. Cole et al., 1996; Pelletier, 1985) the inherent value of naturally expressing one’s thoughts and feelings has been emphasized. Emotional expression is thus viewed as a somewhat unseemly but normal part of everyday life. While emotional expression is a normative behaviour which is neither good nor bad per se, actively holding back emotion through inhibition may have negative health consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages84-87
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780511543579
ISBN (Print)9780511543579
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Fingerprint

Emotions
Health
Psychoneuroimmunology
Psychology
Psychosomatic Medicine
Physiological Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Slatcher, R. B., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2014). Emotional expression and health. In Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition (pp. 84-87). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543579.019

Emotional expression and health. / Slatcher, Richard B.; Pennebaker, James W.

Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2014. p. 84-87.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Slatcher, RB & Pennebaker, JW 2014, Emotional expression and health. in Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, pp. 84-87. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543579.019
Slatcher RB, Pennebaker JW. Emotional expression and health. In Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. 2014. p. 84-87 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543579.019
Slatcher, Richard B. ; Pennebaker, James W. / Emotional expression and health. Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2014. pp. 84-87
@inbook{5444b1a0a5b648d6b2022758374d8fa6,
title = "Emotional expression and health",
abstract = "A longstanding puzzle within psychology and psychosomatic medicine concerns the relationship between the expression of emotions and physical health. Descartes and Shakespeare suggested that not expressing powerful emotions could be unhealthy. Similarly, William James (1890) and Franz Alexander (1950) forcefully argued that inhibiting the expression of strong emotions over time could result in physical health problems through basic biological stress-related channels (see ‘Psychoneuroimmunology’ and ‘Psychosomatics’). Despite these early hypotheses, there is still no overwhelming evidence to support the idea that the suppression of emotional expression is unhealthy and, conversely, that the open expression of emotions is beneficial. Emotional expression has been viewed by our culture somewhat ambivalently. On the one hand, emotional expression is often viewed as rather uncivilized, as ‘giving in’ to passion (King & Emmons, 1990, p. 864). On the other hand, it is assumed that emotions usually should be let out, that the healthy end to an emotional response is emotional expression. This view is especially common in the psychological literature. From Breuer and Freud (1895/1966) to the present (e.g. Cole et al., 1996; Pelletier, 1985) the inherent value of naturally expressing one’s thoughts and feelings has been emphasized. Emotional expression is thus viewed as a somewhat unseemly but normal part of everyday life. While emotional expression is a normative behaviour which is neither good nor bad per se, actively holding back emotion through inhibition may have negative health consequences.",
author = "Slatcher, {Richard B.} and Pennebaker, {James W.}",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/CBO9780511543579.019",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780511543579",
pages = "84--87",
booktitle = "Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
address = "United Kingdom",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - Emotional expression and health

AU - Slatcher, Richard B.

AU - Pennebaker, James W.

PY - 2014/1/1

Y1 - 2014/1/1

N2 - A longstanding puzzle within psychology and psychosomatic medicine concerns the relationship between the expression of emotions and physical health. Descartes and Shakespeare suggested that not expressing powerful emotions could be unhealthy. Similarly, William James (1890) and Franz Alexander (1950) forcefully argued that inhibiting the expression of strong emotions over time could result in physical health problems through basic biological stress-related channels (see ‘Psychoneuroimmunology’ and ‘Psychosomatics’). Despite these early hypotheses, there is still no overwhelming evidence to support the idea that the suppression of emotional expression is unhealthy and, conversely, that the open expression of emotions is beneficial. Emotional expression has been viewed by our culture somewhat ambivalently. On the one hand, emotional expression is often viewed as rather uncivilized, as ‘giving in’ to passion (King & Emmons, 1990, p. 864). On the other hand, it is assumed that emotions usually should be let out, that the healthy end to an emotional response is emotional expression. This view is especially common in the psychological literature. From Breuer and Freud (1895/1966) to the present (e.g. Cole et al., 1996; Pelletier, 1985) the inherent value of naturally expressing one’s thoughts and feelings has been emphasized. Emotional expression is thus viewed as a somewhat unseemly but normal part of everyday life. While emotional expression is a normative behaviour which is neither good nor bad per se, actively holding back emotion through inhibition may have negative health consequences.

AB - A longstanding puzzle within psychology and psychosomatic medicine concerns the relationship between the expression of emotions and physical health. Descartes and Shakespeare suggested that not expressing powerful emotions could be unhealthy. Similarly, William James (1890) and Franz Alexander (1950) forcefully argued that inhibiting the expression of strong emotions over time could result in physical health problems through basic biological stress-related channels (see ‘Psychoneuroimmunology’ and ‘Psychosomatics’). Despite these early hypotheses, there is still no overwhelming evidence to support the idea that the suppression of emotional expression is unhealthy and, conversely, that the open expression of emotions is beneficial. Emotional expression has been viewed by our culture somewhat ambivalently. On the one hand, emotional expression is often viewed as rather uncivilized, as ‘giving in’ to passion (King & Emmons, 1990, p. 864). On the other hand, it is assumed that emotions usually should be let out, that the healthy end to an emotional response is emotional expression. This view is especially common in the psychological literature. From Breuer and Freud (1895/1966) to the present (e.g. Cole et al., 1996; Pelletier, 1985) the inherent value of naturally expressing one’s thoughts and feelings has been emphasized. Emotional expression is thus viewed as a somewhat unseemly but normal part of everyday life. While emotional expression is a normative behaviour which is neither good nor bad per se, actively holding back emotion through inhibition may have negative health consequences.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77956959422&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77956959422&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/CBO9780511543579.019

DO - 10.1017/CBO9780511543579.019

M3 - Chapter

AN - SCOPUS:77956959422

SN - 9780511543579

SP - 84

EP - 87

BT - Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition

PB - Cambridge University Press

ER -