Hostility, Neuroendocrine Changes, and Health Outcomes
Research conducted over the past several decades has documented a moderately strong association between chronic negative emotional states such as hostility and anger, and negative health outcomes. The interdisciplinary field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) provides a good environment for studying the effects of hostility on health because of the complex sequelae of events in the central nervous system, endocrine system, immune system, blood and heart, all of which are set in motion as a consequence of chronic negative emotions. This chapter examines the relationships between hostility and anger, neuroendocrine changes, and health outcome. It explores how anger and hostile aggression can have devastating cardiovascular effects which shorten survival. The role which religion and spirituality play in the mastery and control of negative emotions may offer opportunities not only for studying the phenomenon of hostility itself but also for understanding the ways in which the health-damaging effects of hostility might be thwarted.
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