Keeping Emotional Memories Secret: Health and Subjective Well-being when Emotions are not Shared

J Health Psychol. 1998 Jan;3(1):47-58. doi: 10.1177/135910539800300104.


The present study investigated two predictions derived from inhibition theory. It was hypothesized that emotional secrecy has a negative impact on (1) physical and (2) subjective well-being. Also, the study examined whether the relation holds when controlling for negative affectivity (NA), a variable that can be assumed to mediate the relation between emotional secrecy and physical and subjective well-being. Consistent with the hypothesis, emotional secrecy negatively affected physical health. This finding was not explained by NA, which contributed independently to physical health. Contrary to the prediction, emotional secrecy affected life satisfaction but indirectly through the mediating influence of physical health. The implications of these results for future research on emotional secrecy and physical and subjective well-being are discussed.