Role of culture, rumination, and anger suppression on stress recovery

Researchers have identified several factors, including chronic hostility and a tendency to suppress emotion, that may predispose people to stress-related illnesses such as gastrointestinal problems and cardiovascular disease. A compounding factor is that cultures differ in the degree to which they expect members to show or suppress emotion, such as anger; yet little is known about the impact of culturally-mandated suppression of emotion on stress-related illnesses. Jeremy Anderson is examining how cultural and psychological factors may contribute to stress-related illnesses. His study involves provoking anger from two culturally distinct groups of participants, allowing just one of the groups to express the anger, and then comparing the stress responses from the groups by measuring blood pressure, heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol. The research will improve understanding of how culture affects stress-related illnesses and may also help in the design and targeting of healthy interventions for specific groups.