Title

Feeling Good, Feeling Well: Identity, Emotion, and Health

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date

4-10-2003

Abstract

Over the past decade, health psychologists have been finding empirical evidence that negative emotions and unexpressed emotions have negative effects on physiology and health (Kubzansky & Kawachi, 2000; Mayne, 1999; Baum & Posluszny, 1999). Correspondingly, other studies have found that the interpersonal expression of negative emotion about stressful or traumatic events produces health improvements (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986; Smyth et al., 1994). These findings are bolstered by results in the social support literature regarding psychological and emotional distress (Tyler & Hoyt, 2000; Lechner, 1993; Whelan, 1993; Thoits, 1995). However, to date, no explanation has been developed to explain why expressing emotion to others produces such positive health outcomes. Drawing on Identity Theory (Stryker, 1980; Stryker and Statham, 1986), Affect Control Theory (Heise, 1979; 1999), and sociological theories of emotion management (Francis, 1997; Thoits, 1996; Hochschild, 1983), this paper attempts to address this issues. In this chapter, I will develop a theoretical explanation of social interaction to suggest the utility of understanding the role of identity and affect in health.

Original Citation

Linda E. Francis. (2003). Feeling Good, Feeling Well - Identity, Emotion, and Health in Advances in identity theory and research, ed. by P.J. Burke. New York : Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. p. 123-134.