- Nov 3, 2010
"This could help explain why some people with high levels of stress experience chronic health problems," said Judith Carroll, who conducted the study at the University of Pittsburgh.
The investigators asked healthy middle-aged individuals to complete a speech in the lab in front of a video camera and a panel of judges, the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity reports.
During the speech, they monitored the physical responses to the task and then afterwards asked them about the emotions they had experienced, according to a Pittsburgh statement.
"Most people show increases in heart rate and blood pressure when they complete a stressful task," explained Carroll, "but some also show increases in a circulating marker of inflammation known as interleukin-6."
Inflammation is a process by which the body's white blood cells protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.
"Individuals who become angry or anxious when confronting relatively minor challenges in their lives are prone to increases in inflammation," said study author Anna Marsland, associate professor of psychology and nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.
"Over time, this may render these emotionally-reactive individuals more vulnerable to inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease," said Marsland. Do you like this story?