New U.S. research has found that a negative mood, such as feeling sad or angry, may be linked with higher levels of inflammation and may be a sign of poor health.
Carried out by researchers at Penn State University, the new study recruited 220 participants, and asked them to complete questionnaires recalling their mood over the past month as well as report on their positive and negative moods five times a day for 14 days.
Blood samples were also taken to measure concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) and seven inflammatory cytokines which indicate the level of inflammation in the body.
The findings, published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, showed that participants who reported a negative mood several times a day during the study had higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers.
The team also found among the men surveyed in this study, experiencing a positive mood was associated with lower levels of inflammation.
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to problems such as infections, wounds, and damage to tissues.
Chronic inflammation has been identified as a contributing factor to various diseases and health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers, with previous research also suggesting that higher inflammation is linked to clinical depression and hostility.
The researchers believe that the study is the first to investigate how mood may affect measures of inflammation. Principal investigator Jennifer Graham-Engeland noted that the research is unique as it not only used questionnaires to ask participants to recall their feelings over a period of time, but also asked participants how they were feeling in the moment.
Graham-Engeland hopes further research will be carried out looking into how interventions in daily life can improve mood and help individuals cope with stress.
“Because affect is modifiable, we are excited about these findings and hope that they will spur additional research to understand the connection between affect and inflammation, which in turn may promote novel psychosocial interventions that promote health broadly and help break a cycle that can lead to chronic inflammation, disability, and disease,” she added. NVG