Gouin, J.-P. et al., The influence of anger expression on wound healing, Brain Behav. Immun. (2007) doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2007.10.013.
Certain patterns of anger expression have been associated with maladaptive alterations in cortisol secretion, immune functioning, and surgical recovery. We hypothesized that outward and inward anger expression and lack of anger control would be associated with delayed wound healing. A sample of 98 community-dwelling participants received standardized blister wounds on their non-dominant forearm. After blistering, the wounds were monitored daily for 8 days to assess speed of repair. Logistic regression was used to distinguish fast and slow healers based on their anger expression pattern. Individuals exhibiting lower levels of anger control were more likely to be categorized as slow healers. The anger control variable predicted wound repair over and above differences in hostility, negative affectivity, social support, and health behaviors. Furthermore, participants with lower levels of anger control exhibited higher cortisol reactivity during the blistering procedure. This enhanced cortisol secretion was in turn related to longer time to heal. These findings suggest that the ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing.
...this is the first study showing that difficulty in anger regulation can lead to delayed healing. Furthermore, an exacerbated cortisol response to stress appears to explain the relationship between lower anger control and wound repair, although other physiological pathways may mediate the association between anger regulation and healing.Media report here.