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Negative emotions can intensify a variety of health threats. We provide a broad framework
relating negative emotions to a range of diseases whose onset and course may be influenced
by the immune system; inflammation has been linked to a spectrum of conditions associated
with aging, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes,
certain cancers, Alzheimer's disease, frailty and functional decline, and periodontal
disease. Production of proinflammatory cytokines that influence these and other conditions
can be directly stimulated by negative emotions and stressful experiences. Additionally,
negative emotions also contribute to prolonged infection and delayed wound healing,
processes that fuel sustained proinflammatory cytokine production. Accordingly, we
argue that distress-related immune dysregulation may be one core mechanism behind
a large and diverse set of health risks associated with negative emotions. Resources
such as close personal relationships that diminish negative emotions enhance health
in part through their positive impact on immune and endocrine regulation.