Credit: Stress Image via Shutterstock
Those daily arguments and frustrations at work could lead to anxiety and depression down the road, new research shows.
A study published in the Psychological Science journal revealed that how people emotionally respond to the stresses of daily life may predict long-term mental health.
Using data from two national surveys, researchers examined the relationship between daily negative emotions and mental health outcomes 10 years later. They found that among the more than 700 men and women examined, higher levels of negative emotions predicted psychological distress, such as feeling worthless, hopeless, nervous and restless, as well as diagnosis of an emotional disorder like anxiety or depression a full decade after the emotions were measured.
In addition, those who responded negatively to daily stress, like problems at work or home, predicted psychological distress and self-reported emotional disorders 10 years later.
The researchers say that a key strength of the study was their ability to tap a large, national sample of men and women spanning a wide age range, from 25 to 74.
Susan Charles of the University of California, Irvine, one of the study's authors, said the findings show that mental health outcomes aren't only affected by major life events, but also from seemingly minor emotional experiences. The study suggests that the chronic nature of these negative emotions in response to daily stress can take a toll on long-term mental health.
The study was co-authored by Jennifer Piazza of California State University, Fullerton, and Jacqueline Mogle, Martin Sliwinski and David Almeida of Pennsylvania State University.