Stress, Negative Emotions, and Inflammation

Jean-Philippe Gouin, Liisa V. Hantsoo and Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Stress, Negative Emotions, and Inflammation

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology



Chronic low grade inflammation is a core pathophysiological process that may be involved in many age-related diseases. Elevations in circulating markers of inflammation have been associated with frailty and disability, osteoporosis, certain cancers, cardiovascular disorders, type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, stress and negative emotions appear to promote the production of inflammatory mediators, providing a physiological mechanism by which negative psychological states may impact health. This chapter reviews the basic physiological processes of inflammation, the relationships among stress, negative emotions, social relationships, and inflammation, and the behavioral and physiological pathways linking stress, emotions, and inflammation.

Keywords: inflammation; Interleukin-6; C-Reactive protein; glucocorticoid resistance; stress; depression; caregiving; social support; social conflict; marriage; health behaviors; chronic disease; psychoneuroimmunology

Article.  9692 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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