Is Crying Beneficial?
crying, well-being, distress, arousal, catharsis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Lay opinion and extensive survey data indicate that crying is a cathartic behavior that serves to relieve distress and reduce arousal. Yet laboratory data often indicate that crying exacerbates distress and increases autonomic arousal. In this article, we present a framework for explaining variations in the psychological effects of crying as a function of (a) how the effects of crying are measured, (b) conditions in the social environment, (c) personality traits of the crier, and (d) the affective state of the crier. Recognizing the heterogeneity of crying effects represents a step toward a more nuanced understanding of this behavior, including its implications for psychosocial adjustment.
Was this content written or created while at USF?
Citation / Publisher Attribution
Current Directions in Psychological Science, v. 17, issue 6, p. 400-404
Scholar Commons Citation
Rottenberg, Jonathan; Bylsma, Lauren M.; and Vingerhoets, Ad J. J. M., "Is Crying Beneficial?" (2008). Psychology Faculty Publications. 1816.