One of our graduate students, Mr. Vincent Oh, recently had his research featured in Psychology Today in an article titled “Neuroticism, Emotions, and Your Health” on 18 January 2020.
The feature article is available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/sg/blog/fulfillment-any-age/202001/neuroticism-emotions-and-your-health
Objective: Negative emotion differentiation refers to the ability to make complex distinctions between specific negative emotions. However, little research has examined its associations with long-term physical health and its potential limitations. The present study aims to investigate whether negative emotion differentiation would predict long-term health outcomes and whether neuroticism would moderate this relationship. Methods: Adult participants (N = 1,010; 433 men, 577 women; Mage = 55.53) were studied in the present research. Negative emotion differentiation was computed based on a daily diary procedure, whereas neuroticism was measured using a validated 4-item scale. Physical health was assessed at baseline as well as an average of 7 years later using a combination of subjective (3-item self-report scale) and objective (number of chronic conditions and number of prescription medications) measures. Demographical variables (age, gender, income, education, household size, ethnicity) were controlled for. Results: Negative emotion differentiation did not uniquely predict later health (β = .02) upon controlling for baseline health and demographical covariates. However, neuroticism significantly moderated this relationship, such that negative emotion differentiation significantly predicted better health (β = .12) an average of 7 years later after accounting for baseline health, but only for those low on neuroticism. Conclusion: For individuals low on neuroticism, negative emotion differentiation is a beneficial regulatory capacity that has substantial positive associations with later health outcomes. However, these health benefits did not generalize to individuals higher on neuroticism, suggesting that there are limits to the regulatory benefits afforded by negative emotion differentiation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Oh, V. Y. S., & Tong, E. M. W. (2020). Negative emotion differentiation and long-term physical health—The moderating role of neuroticism. Health Psychology, 39, 127–136. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000809