Anger can increase the risk for chronic disease in older individuals.

Many worry about their older relatives feeling unhappy. But a new study from Concordia University says that anger is more harmful to older individuals than sadness.

Researchers analyzed data from 226 older adults aged 59 to 93. These participants completed questionnaires about sad and angry feelings every day for one week. Additionally, they reported any chronic illnesses and gave blood samples, which the researchers used to measure inflammation.

The research team found that experiencing anger daily was related to higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness for individuals over 80 years old. There was no significant link, however, between sadness and inflammation or chronic illness.

This study demonstrates the importance of emotional regulation in old age. Researchers say that therapy can help older adults reduce anger and, in turn, stay in good health.


Barlow, M. A., Wrosch, C., et al (2019, March 7). Is Anger, but Not Sadness, Associated With Chronic Inflammation and Illness in Older Adulthood. Psychology and Aging. Retrieved from