Affective Reactivity to Daily Stressors Is Associated With Elevated Inflammation

Nancy L. Sin, Jennifer E. Graham-Engeland, Anthony D. Ong, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Objective: Inflammation increases the risk of chronic diseases, but the links between emotional responsesto daily events and inflammation are unknown. We examined individual differences in affectivereactivity to daily stressors (i.e., changes in positive and negative affect in response to stressors) aspredictors of inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Methods: Across-sectional sample of 872 adults from the National Study of Daily Experiences (substudy of Midlifein the United States II) reported daily stressors and affect during telephone interviews for 8 days. Bloodsamples were obtained at a separate clinic visit and assayed for inflammatory markers. Multilevel modelsestimated trait affective reactivity slopes for each participant, which were inputted into regression modelsto predict inflammation. Results: People who experienced greater decreases in positive affect on dayswhen stressors occurred (i.e., positive affect reactivity) had elevated log IL-6, independent of demographic,physical, psychological, and behavioral factors (B = 1.12, SE= 0.45, p = .01). Heightenednegative affect reactivity was associated with higher log CRP among women (p =.03) but not men (p =.57); health behaviors accounted for this association in women. Conclusions: Adults who fail to maintainpositive affect when faced with minor stressors in everyday life appear to have elevated levels of IL-6,a marker of inflammation. Women who experience increased negative affect when faced with minorstressors may be at particular risk of elevated inflammation. These findings add to growing evidenceregarding the health implications of affective reactivity to daily stressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1165
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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