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New Research Shows Crying About It Doesn’t Help

August 3, 2011

Researchers claim that despite popular sayings, having a good cry does not make anyone feel better.

The researchers collected data from 97 Dutch women between the ages of 18 and 48.  The participants kept diaries monitoring their moods and crying for up to 73 days.

The team looked at the 1,004 “detailed crying episodes,” and showed that nearly two-thirds of women studied did not feel better after crying.

During the study, crying days were marked by generally worse moods than on other days. 

The negative mood following crying lasted for up to two days.

Sixty-one percent of women did not report an improved mood after crying.  However, they also did not report feeling any worse afterwards.

Nine percent of the participants said crying made them feel worse, while 30 percent felt better after crying.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the average women cried 10 times during the study, while one woman cried 52 times.

Crying with one other person was reported to be more positive than crying alone.

A third of the participants who did feel better after crying said “screaming and body movements” was even more beneficial.

Jonathan Rottenberg, an associate professor of psychology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and the study’s lead author, said rather than encouraging people to cry, it makes more sense to encourage them to reach out to their group of friends.

“When crying helps it’s likely not because of the tears but because it recruits social support and draws attention to important problems,” Rottenberg told MSNBC.

The research was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

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Topics: Crying, Behavior


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