Changes in Health Perceptions after Exposure to Human Suffering: Using Discrete Emotions to Understand Underlying Processes
by Antonia A. Paschali, Efi Mitsopoulou, Valentinos Tsaggarakis, Evangelos C. Karademas
The aim of this study was to examine whether exposure to human suffering is associated with negative changes in perceptions about personal health. We further examined the relation of possible health perception changes, to changes in five discrete emotions (i.e., fear, guilt, hostility/anger, and joviality), as a guide to understand the processes underlying health perception changes, provided that each emotion conveys information regarding triggering conditions.
An experimental group (N = 47) was exposed to images of human affliction, whereas a control group (N = 47) was exposed to relaxing images. Participants in the experimental group reported more health anxiety and health value, as well as lower health-related optimism and internal health locus of control, in comparison to participants exposed to relaxing images. They also reported more fear, guilt, hostility and sadness, as well as less joviality. Changes in each health perception were related to changes in particular emotions.
These findings imply that health perceptions are shaped in a constant dialogue with the representations about the broader world. Furthermore, it seems that the core of health perception changes lies in the acceptance that personal well-being is subject to several potential threats, as well as that people cannot fully control many of the factors the determine their own well-being.
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Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
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