Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Repressing anxiety may protect against stress disorders


People who cope with a life-threatening situation by ignoring their anxiety or diverting their attention away from it may be doing themselves a favor. Such practices may act as a buffer against stress disorders, according to the results of an Israeli study of heart attack patients.

"The findings of this study suggest that a repressive coping style may promote adjustment to traumatic stress, both in the short and longer term," says lead study author Karni Ginzburg, Ph.D., of the Bob Shapell School of Social Work at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

With colleagues Zahava Solomon, Ph.D., and Avi Bleich, M.D., Ginzburg studied more than 100 patients who were hospitalized for a heart attack and were experiencing the related stress. "The damage to the heart, with its symbolic meaning as the essence of the human being, may shatter the patient’s sense of wholeness and safety," says Ginzburg.

During their hospitalization, the study participants took a diagnostic test for acute stress disorder. Symptoms of this disorder, which can occur immediately after a traumatic event, include significant distress, trauma flashbacks, difficulty carrying out everyday tasks, insomnia, irritability and poor concentration. Post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed when such symptoms occur more than a month after the traumatic event. The researchers visited the patients seven months after their hospitalization to test for PTSD.

The researchers also gave study participants a test to determine if their coping style was repressive, in which the individual avoids anxious thoughts about a trauma, despite any anxiety they’re experiencing on a physiological level. "Previous studies indicated that repressors, who report low levels of anxiety, actually manifest high levels, as indicated by various physical and behavioral measures, such as muscle tone, heart rate, blood pressure and facial expressions," says Ginzburg.

The repressive study participants had lower rates of acute stress disorders than the highly anxious study participants did, but higher rates than the low-anxiety study participants did. Regarding PTSD, the repressors had the lowest rates, and those repressors who did develop PTSD had less severe cases, the researchers found. The study results are published in the September/October issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

The effectiveness of the repressive coping style in dealing with trauma may be bolstered by traits often associated with this style.

"Prior studies report that repressors tend to perceive themselves as competent, self-controlled and having adequate coping skills," says Ginzburg. Such individuals have also been found to have a more positive self-image and to be "more inclined to unrealistic optimism," according to the study.

Some say the repressive coping style is an inauthentic way to shield oneself from the fullness of an experience, even a trauma, while others say repression can be a good problem-solving tool in a stressful circumstance.

"In these cases, the repressor is able to approach the trauma-induced emotions and cognitions gradually, in small doses, and without being overwhelmed by them, and also to maintain his or her hope and courage," Ginzburg says.

Karni Ginzburg, Ph.D. | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>