Journal or Book Title
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Previous studies conducted in Western cultures have shown that negative emotions predict higher levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers, specifically interleukin-6 (IL-6). This link between negative emotions and IL-6 may be specific to Western cultures where negative emotions are perceived to be problematic and thus may not extend to Eastern cultures where negative emotions are seen as acceptable and normal. Using samples of 1044 American and 382 Japanese middle-aged and older adults, we investigated whether the relationship between negative emotions and IL-6 varies by cultural context. Negative emotions predicted higher IL-6 among American adults, whereas no association was evident among Japanese adults. Furthermore, the interaction between culture and negative emotions remained even after controlling for demographic variables, psychological factors (positive emotions, neuroticism, extraversion), health behaviors (smoking status, alcohol consumption), and health status (chronic conditions, BMI). These findings highlight the role of cultural context in shaping how negative emotions affect inflammatory physiology and underscore the importance of cultural ideas and practices relevant to negative emotions for understanding of the interplay between psychology, physiology, and health.
Park, Jiyoung; Boylan, J.; Coe, C.; Curhan, K.; Levine, C.; Markus, H; Kitayama, Shinobu; N, Kawakami; M, Karasawa; Love, G.; and CD, Ryff, "Negative emotions predict elevated Interleukin-6 in the United States but not in Japan" (2013). Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 7.