Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy: An Individual Differences Approach to Crying in Dutch Females

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Crying, Personality, Mood, Individual differences

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Many people report that crying relieves distress and is soothing; however, others report no change in mood after crying, and a minority of people even report worsened mood. What accounts for individual differences in the sequelae of crying? To examine this question, 196 adult Dutch women completed personality and clinical functioning measures, which were used to predict mood change after crying, as well as the frequency and ease of crying episodes. The personality characteristics of neuroticism, extraversion and empathy predicted variation in the frequency and ease of crying episodes, but did not predict mood change. Conversely, clinical characteristics were less related to the frequency and ease of crying episodes than to variation in mood change. Specifically, alexithymia, anhedonia, depression, and anxiety were associated with worsened post-crying mood. Individual difference characteristics are systematically related to different facets of crying. Implications for understanding the heterogeneity of adult crying are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Personality and Individual Differences, v. 45, issue 5, p. 367-372