Motivation and emotion/Book/2013/Crying

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Crying:
Why do we cry? When is it good to cry?

The artist is the present: Marina Abramović meets Ulay - MoMA 2010 (3.37 mins.)

Overview[edit]

"Life is an onion - you peel it year by year and sometimes cry."
(Carl Sandburg, Remembrance Rock)

The first thing we do after being born is to cry, and the last thing we do when people die is to cry. Crying is a normal part of growing up as well. Crying makes us stronger and more mature through our life span. Thus, crying seems important for us. However, how many of you understand crying correctly? Do you really understand why we cry? It seems that many people do not know exactly what crying is about despite its importance. If we understand about the purpose of crying and its benefits, crying can be more helpful for you in terms of your physical and psychological health. This chapter will mainly focus on the reasons of crying and how beneficial crying is for us through psychological theories.

Definition of crying[edit]

A crying gorilla.

Charles Darwin (1872) suggested that crying is a natural human behaviour that is distinct from animal crying. Botelho (1964) said that crying is a typical way for human to express their emotion. Crying is defined as shedding of tears. "Sobbing, weeping, wailing, whimpering, bawling, or blubbering" are all different expressions of crying. In physiological terms, Patel (1993) defined crying is "a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures".

Why do we cry?[edit]

After scientists discovered that tears are generated by our lacrimal glands, they found that there are three types of tears (see Table 1; Keedle, 2010). There are a number of reasons why we cry: (1) Physiological reasons, (2) Evolutionary reasons, (3) Psychological or emotional reasons, and (4) Cultural and social reasons. In this part, we will explore the multidimensional reasons of crying.

Table 1. Three types of tears

Name Basal tears Reflex tears Emotional tears
From.. Nasal cavity Hormones Cerebrum
Purpose Basal tears constantly come out from our eyes. Our body produces 5~10 ounces of basal tears each day. These tears explain why people develop runny noses when they have a good cry. Reflex tears protect the human eye from pains such as onions, smoke and dust. Emotional tears control sadness. The endocrine system is involve in emotional tears. Emotional tears are associated with psychological reasons of crying. Emotional tears relieve stress and help us relax.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tears

Physiological reasons[edit]

Lachrymal glands

Reductionist theories Reductionists take a physiological approach to explain crying. When you cry, tears roll down your face. Flicking eyes or similarly, closing eyes very tightly would stimulate the lachrymal glands and that causes to bring tears out (Darwin, 1872; Dixon, 2013). The primary reason for crying is to protect eyes. Basal tears protect the surface of the eye by lubricating the surface of the eye (Darwin, 1872). According to Montague (1959), the major reason for crying is to prevent eyes from drying. Sobbing leads us to inhale and exhale huge amount of air quickly that makes the nose and throat dry. To protect the nose and throat to be dried, tears would keep them moist. He suggested that tears also prevent eye from infections. The lacrimal fluid, which is basically the same as tears, contains the antibacterial enzyme lysozymes that protect eyes to be free from infections (Montague, 1959).

Evolutionary reasons[edit]

A cartoon depicting Charles Darwin as an ape.

Crying plays an important role for humans to survive (Darwin, 1872). First, when we are in pain, our body alerts us by crying. When we are under stress or pain, we can experience some common reactions to stress such as sweating and having increased heart rate. Crying relieves those physical responses (APS, 2008). Second, crying can handicap aggressive or defensive actions from attackers. Emotional tears increase the expression of sadness that can handicap aggressive or defensive actions (Hasson, 2009). Finally, crying helps build relationships and a need for attachment which are key for survival (Hasson, 2009).

Emotional (Psychological) reasons[edit]

Charles Darwin suggested that animals cry emotionally, however, modern scientists argue that human beings are the only animal capable of crying emotionally. Cathartic theories, two-factor theory, and learned helplessness theory help to explain when emotional tears are released and why.

Cathartic theories Sigmund Freud and his colleague Breuer (1974) found that crying was a cathartic process and a healing process that occurred after experiencing any extreme change in emotion. They believed that crying can reduce distress and lead to relief. However, there was little empirical evidence in Breuer and Freud's concept of crying as a cathartic process. A recent study was conducted by Bylsma, Vingerhoets and Rottenberg (2008) revealed that not all persons experienced benefits from crying. Some people reported that crying makes their mental and physical state worse. Also, the researchers found that cathartic crying depends on contextual features such as social contexts (Bylsma et al., 2008).
Efran & Spangler's Two-factor theory Efran and Spangler (1979) explained crying as a combination of emotional and cognitive responses. Efran and Spangler (1979) suggested that adult crying comprises two distinct phases: emotional arousal and recovery. During the first phase, an adult will experience either a positive or negative arousal. In the second stage, a psychological event or cognitive reappraisal will change the arousal into recovery. Efran and Spangler's 1979 study has a limitation that it cannot predict other emotional responses such as laughing (Labott & Martin, 1988).
Learned helplessness theory Hobbes (1658) and Plessner (1970) suggested that crying occurs when people feel overwhelmed and unable to control their emotion. In other words, crying is a sign of helplessness. Miceli and Castelfranchi (2003) explained the emotional reasons for crying by Martin Seligman's learned helplessness theory is a theory that a human or animal which has learned helplessness does not try to escape even when the chances of escaping are presented (Maier & Seligman, 1976). See Table 2 below.
Grief is different when it's your own.
The families of North and South Koreans are crying for the joy of reuniting. Crying for joy becomes special when people overcome stressful events and achieve a happy ending.

Table 2. Reasons for crying based on learned helplessness theory Based on Miceli, M & Castelfranchi, C. (2003). Crying: Discussing its basic reasons and uses. New Ideas in Psychology, 21, 247-273.

Separation and loss The most typical reason for crying is separation or loss of beloved one. A basic reason of one's separation or loss is maybe caused by perceived helplessness. We cry because we have nothing we can do about loss of our loved ones. Therefore, crying is a way of coping with the loss.
Failure People cry when they are unable to meet their goals. Failure of a pursued goal makes people frustrated. Failure not only makes people disappointed, but also discourages them. Similar to separation and loss, people will cry about failing to achieve their goals because they feel helpless.
Anger Anger is a less clear reason for crying. Some people need to cry when they are angry, because they cannot express their anger in other ways than crying.
Guilt Guilty feelings cause people to cry. There are a number of reasons why people cry when people feel guilty: (1) Perceived helplessness (2) Regret (3) Crying as a form of punishment.
Empathy Emphathic crying is an obvious reason for crying. Empathy explains why we cry at sad films. People show empathy for others, who experience helplessness, by showing their tears. Empathic crying has an advantage.[clarification needed] People can feel comfort and less self-blame by crying for others instead of doing actual things such as donating or helping.
Joy Joy seems to be a special reason for crying, as not all joy makes people cry. Crying for joy occurs when people overcome stressful events and have a happy ending which produces positive surprise and relief.


Social reasons[edit]

Have you ever cried because of others? You must have cried at least once in your life because of others.[for example?] Frey and Langseth's 1985 study (as cited in Vingerhoets, Cornelius, Van Heck, & Becht, 2000, p. 363) found that 40% of participants in their study cried for social reasons. Similarly, Bylsma and his colleagues (2008) examined a cross-cultural study about types of antecedents reported for the most recent crying episode. Conflict was the third most important attribution for crying, with 13.3% of the total sample (4,249 respondents). Thus, the social contexts of crying seem important. Crying in a social setting can be explained differently for infants and adults. Infants cry for communicating and being attached with their caregivers. The reasons for adult crying are broader and include interpersonal skills, communication with others, bonds, and relationships.

Infant crying for attachment and communication
Waaah!.jpg

An infant's cry is man's instinct to survive (Darwin, 1872). According to attachment theory by Mary Ainsworth, newborns are not able to regulate their emotions by themselves. Babies cry when they have distress such as hunger, thirst or pain. Babies start to learn that crying will attract their caregivers who can sooth their distress. In this stage, if a caregiver responds consistently sensitively to their babies' cries, the baby will learn that he or she has a secure base for support (Faris & McCarroll, 2010). According to Choung-Kim (2005), a caregiver's quick responses to a crying baby results in a secure attachment between the caregiver and the baby.

Adult crying for communication, bond and relationships
Funeral of Boris Yeltsin-22.jpg
Crying has a symbolic message to the people (Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2003). For example, we cry at a funeral to show that "We're very sorry to hear for your loss of beloved one" or "I'm very sad that he died" by showing tears. A recent study by Hendriks and his colleagues (2006) found that crying has a non-verbal message for seeking help. For example, we generally tend to help a crying person.
According to Kottler (1996), adults cry for help from others just as infants do. Kottler (1996) suggested that crying increases sympathy, empathy, and comfort between people. As a result, crying plays an important role in facilitating attachment and increasing the mutual bonds in adult relationships. Interestingly, an evolutionary biologist Oren Hasson found that tears have evolutionary reasons in order to make interpersonal relationships stronger (Hasson & Unit, 2009).
Activity 1. Do you know why wolves howl?
Canis lupus howling (illustration).jpg
The sound of groups of wolves howling (length 28 s)

Q. Wolves use howling as a territorial defence, to help locate other pack members. Do you know any other reason why wolves howl?

Wolves howl because of the moon.
Wolves howl because they are stressful.
Wolves Howl to 'Keep in Touch' with Friends.

Take Home Message
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Crying is not only for protecting eyes and emotional responses, but also for communication and building relationships.

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Activity 2: for the people who can't cry - Take the "No Cry" challenge on YouTube
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"No Cry" challenge (80 mins., 19 videos)
Do you have a heart made of stone? Find out with the 19-video “No Cry” Challenge on YouTube. The goal is to make it through all 19 videos without shedding a tear.

When is it good to cry?[edit]

Why we cry was discussed in the previous section. This section explores when we normally cry, how often we cry, when crying is good for us, and when crying is not good for us.

We cry more often before we go to bed, than during the day.

When do we normally cry?[edit]

Think about last time when you cried. Did you cry in the night or during the day? You might cry in the night. How do I know it? It is because researchers suggest that people cry more often in the night time than during the day. According to Bylsma, Vingerhoets and Rottenberg (2008), most people cry in the late evening between 10 pm and midnight. Frey (1985) found that women cry more often between 7 pm and 10 pm than between 9 am and 7 pm. Furthermore, the frequency of crying (only for women) increases between 11 pm and 4 am (Vingerhoets, Sanders & Kuper, 1997). Why do we more likely to cry in the night than during the day? Researchers found that there are several factors that may cause people to cry during the night time. First, the threshold for crying may be lowered in the night. We are tired and feel safe at home in the night. As a result, it may be easier for us to cry in the night. Second, people might have more conflicts with their family members in the night than during the day. Finally, night time is good for us to reflect our emotional events that happened during the day (Vingerhoets, Cornelius, Van Heck & Becht, 2000).

How often do we cry? (Frequency of crying)[edit]

Real world problem - Boys don't cry: young men and suicide in Australia

Men don't cry.jpg
An article by Cassie White suggested that not crying can be a cause of male suicide in Australia. Professor Ian Hickie from University of Sydney said that boys seek pleasure or thrills to escape from distress rather than expressing emotion or seeking social help. To prevent suicide, psychologists suggest that a society needs to allow men to cry, and teach them crying is a normal and healthy behaviour. To see Cassie White's article click here

  • Infant crying Infants generally cry much more often than adults do. Infants (0-6 months) start crying in the first few weeks of their life (Hiscock & Jordan, 2004). Normally, infants cry about 1-3 hours a day (Kaneshiro, 2012). The longest hours of infants crying are 2.4 hours per day at the age of 6 weeks. Infants normally cry consecutively at night time, but infant crying can occur during the day as well. Most babies tend to stop crying as they grow up by the age of 3-4 months (Hiscock & Jordan, 2004).
  • Impact of gender In babies and young children, there is no gender differences in frequency of crying until age 10. At age 11, there is apparent difference between in frequency of crying. This difference becomes larger when children grow up to adulthood (Bekker & Vingerhoets, 1999). In adult crying, Vingerhoets and Scheirs (2000) found that women cry more often than men, and women cry longer than men do. According to Brody (2000), normal women - who do not have psychiatric illness - cry 5.3± 0.3 times per month, whereas, men - who do not have psychiatric illness - cry 1.4±0.4 times per month. Why is it so different in the frequency of crying between male and female? Brody (2000) suggested that the reason of the sex difference in crying is the role of social learning in adolescence. Boys tend to cry more often when their families teach them that crying is acceptable to express (Brostein, Briones, Brooks & Cowan, 1996).
  • Impact of Personality Are you a person who can cry easily? Or who cannot cry easily? Have you ever wondered why some people cry all the time for everything, or why some people who cannot cry? Researchers examined the impacts of personality on frequency of crying based on the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI): Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience. Vingerhoets, Van den Berg, Kortekaas, Van Heck, and Croon (1993) found that there is a positive relationship between neuroticism and crying. In other words, neurotic people - who experience anxiety, anger, envy, guilt and depressed mood more often than other people experience (Matthews & Deary, 1998) - tend to cry more often. Fruyt (1997) found that extraverted people experience positive feelings and relief after crying. Other NEO-PI such as Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness do not have impacts on frequency of crying (Fruyt, 1997). Additionally, Vingerhoets and his colleagues (1993) suggested that self-esteem plays a role of suppressor in crying. In other words, people who have high levels of self-esteem are less likely to cry than who have low levels of self-esteem.
  • Impact of Culture Is there any cultural differences in the frequency of crying? In some cultures, crying may not be socially acceptable. Vingerhoets and his colleagues (2000) suggested that different cultural display rules impact on individuals' emotional expressions. Moreover, different social situations also can impact on the frequency of crying (Williams & Morris, 1996). For example, Israeli people cry about three times less than English men and women in a year (Szabo & Frey, 1991). This may be because all of the participants from Israel had served in the army (Williams & Morris, 1996).

When is it good to cry?[edit]

  • A good cry can enhance your mood: catharsis and healing effects}}
"“The cure for anything is salt water

- sweat, tears, or the sea"
(Isak Diensen)

Do you feel better after you cry? Becht and Vingerhoets (2002) conducted a cross-culture study with large sample size (2,181 men and 2,915 women living in 35 countries) about mood change after crying. Most participants reported that they experienced catharsis when they remembered their recent crying episode. Interestingly, more than 50 % of the participants reported that they feel better after crying. Another cross-cultural study on crying and mood change found that there is no significant difference between men and women on mood change after crying (Becht & Vingerhoets, 2002). In other words, both men and women generally felt better after crying. As we discussed earlier, a good cry has a cathartic effect that serves to relieve stress and pain (Bylsma, Vingerhoets & Rottenberg, 2008; Rottenberg et al., 2008). A good cry can result in several mood changes (Becht & Vingerhoets, 2002): (1) relaxed, (2) in control, (3) happy, and (4) relieved.
  • A good cry maintains body homeostasis
A human body restores its homeostasis - which is a process of keeping body stable - through the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system control crying. However, the parasympathetic nervous system plays an important role in shedding tears (Botelho, 1964). To balance the body homeostasis, our body decreases high levels of sympathetic activation and rid the body of toxins (Gross, Fredrickson & Levenson, 1994). To summarise, crying stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to restore homeostasis for better physical health (Hendriks, Rottenberg & Vingerhoets, 2007).
  • A good cry is helpful for getting social supports
When you cry in front others, did other people ask you why you were crying and offer for help? Hendriks, Rottenberg and Vingerhoets (2007) conducted a study on the influence of different kinds of facial expressions, on behavioural responses. Hendriks and his colleagues (2007) found that crying faces lead people to offer more emotional support. But why? why do people tend to support a crying person? People tend to support a crying person because they feel empathy for him or her (Hendriks et al., 2007). Other researchers suggested that this helping behaviour for a crying individual is egoistic. People generally feel uncomfortable when they see a person crying. To relieve this uncomfortable emotion, people help the crying person which is not altruistic behaviour, but egoistic behaviour (Cialdini, Schaller, Houlihan, Arps, Fultz & Beaman, 1987).
  • A good cry allows us to aware our emotion
Crying is helpful when you need to aware of our emotion (Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2003). Tears give us a sign of mood change. In other words, we can use crying to understand and explain our feelings and emotions. For example, I am crying so I understand that I am sad now.
Two Way Arrow.jpg

When is it not good to cry?[edit]

  • When you watch sad movies: arousal effects
Do you think it is good to cry while you watch sad movies? Some people believe that crying at sad movies will make them feel better. However, researchers suggested that crying at sad films has no positive effects; instead, it increases physiological arousals (Gross, et al. 1994). In Gross et al.'s 1994 study, participants who cried at sad films had higher level of the autonomic nervous system activation which is associated with arousal effects. In addition, Gross and his colleagues (1994) found that crying at sad movies increase higher levels of sadness and emotional pain.
  • When you cry because you feel hopeless
"If no other reaction is possible, crying is helpful to me. Otherwise, I feel worse, because I think that I am unable to do anything but crying."
(Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2003, p. 267)
Suppose that you suffer from something. There is no other solution that you can do except crying. Crying does not seem to be helpful for you in a hopeless situation; instead, you may experience more suffering. After you cry, you will think that crying cannot make your situation better. Miceli and Castelfranchi (2003) explained why some cries decrease mood effects by learned helplessness theory. Once a frustrated person perceived that the frustrating situation cannot be improved, then he or she will give up which leads him or her to cry. Since crying implies the meaning of suffering to the person, he or she will experience further suffering (Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2003).
  • When you cry in public: Loss of face and lower self-esteem
"Crying didn't help me because I gave the impression of being unable to face certain situations in a mature way"
(Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2003, p. 268)
Remember when you cried in front of others. You probably remember that you felt embarrassed when you cry in public. According to Miceli and Castelfranchi (2003), people think that crying is an immature act. A crying person may judge himself that he is too immature (or too fool) to face certain situations; This judgement may decrease the crying person's self-esteem levels. See the below '4 ways to stop yourself from crying'.

Take Home Message
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Not all cries make you feel better. But, it's sometimes good to cry.



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Application: crying as a therapeutic purpose

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Deep Feeling Therapy: Healing Emotional Pain with Dr. Paul Hannig (6.5 mins.)
Crying can be used for a therapeutic purpose. In this video, an American psychotherapist Dr. Paul Hanning explores the benefits of therapeutic crying and actual feeling sessions.

Critique of current theories and research: limitations of the measurement[edit]

Crying is a fascinating topic to study out of all emotions. Crying studies have been conducted by researchers from different backgrounds such as physiology, biology, sociology and psychology. The current theories and research have been helpful for us to improve our knowledge about crying, as well as, improve our mental health. However, a major challenge for crying research is measurement. Most of crying studies are dependent on self-report measurement. However, self-report measurement may not be valid sometimes. Participants may lie because they may be too embarrassed to provide their private details such as when they cried last time and why. To decrease these problems, researchers started to use the quasi-experiment design. However, quasi-experimental studies also have limitations. Cornelius (1997) suggested that crying behaviour cannot be measured accurately in experimental conditions or randomised experiments. In a controlled experiment, participants may be forced to cry. Crying is a natural human behaviour that is sometimes voluntary and involuntary. According to Stougie, Vingerhoets and Cornelius (2004), participants cannot be forced to cry because of the experiment condition. Future studies need to carefully use the measurement between self-report or quasi-experiment for the better research result.[clarification needed]

Conclusion[edit]

Crying is important in our life. The purpose of human crying is shaped by a variety of reasons. Physiologically, tears protect our eyes. Biologically, crying helps us to survive. Psychologically, we cry in order to express our emotions. Socially, crying is helpful for us to communicate and build relationships with others. Crying has benefits and disadvantages depending on the situation. Crying is good when you need better moods. A body can maintain homeostasis by crying. Crying is also helpful for seeking social supports and understanding one's emotional status. On the other hand, crying is not good when you watch sad movies, because it increases the level of arousal.[clarification needed] Crying brings you more suffering when you feel hopeless. Finally, crying in public decreases your self-esteem. A major problem with crying research is measurement. Future studies need to be careful about using self-report measurements or the quasi-experiment for better research results.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Becht, M., & Vingerhoets, A. (2002). Crying and mood change: A cross-cultural study. Cognition & Emotion, 16, 87-101.

Bekker, M., & Vingerhoets, A. (1999). Adam's tears; The relationship between crying, biological sex and gender. Psychology, Evolution & Gender, 1, 11-31.

Botelho, S. Y. (1964). Tears and the lacrimal gland. Scientific American, 211, 78-86.

Brody, L., & Hall, J. (2000). Gender, emotion, and expression. Handbook of emotions, 2, 338-349.

Bronstein, P., Briones, M., Brooks, T., & Cowan, B. (1996). Gender and family factors as predictors of late adolescent emotional expressiveness and adjustment: A longitudinal study. Sex Roles, 34, 739-765.

Bylsma, L., Vingerhoets, A., & Rottenberg. (2008). When is crying cathartic? an international study. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27, 1165-1187.

Cialdini, R. B., Schaller, M., Houlihan, D., Arps, K., Fultz, J., & Beaman, A. L. (1987). Empathy-based helping: Is it selflessly or selfishly motivated?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 749.

Cornelius, R. R. (1997). Toward a new understanding of weeping and catharsis. The (non) expression of emotions in health and disease, 303-321.

Cornelius, R. R., Nussbaum, R., Warner, L., & Moeller, C. (2000). An action full of meaning and of real service”: The social and emotional messages of crying. In 11th conference of the International Society for Research on Emotions.

Darwin, C. (1872). The descent of man and selection in relation to sex. : New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co..

Efran, J. S., & Spangler, T. J. (1979). Why grown-ups cry. Motivation and Emotion, 3, 63-72.

Faris, M., & McCarroll, E. (2010). Crying babies. Retrieved from https://childcarequarterly.com/pdf/fall10_babies.pdf

Freud, S., & Breuer, J. (1974). Studies on Hysteria. 1895. Ed. and trans. James and Alix Strachey.

Fruyt, F. (1997). Gender and individual differences in adult crying. Personality and Individual Differences, 22, 937-940.

Gross, J. J., Fredrickson, B. L., & Levenson, R. W. (1994). The psychophysiology of crying. Psychophysiology, 31, 460-468.

Hasson, O., & Unit, B. (2009). Emotional tears as biological signals. Evolutionary Psychology, 7, 363-370.

Hendriks, M. C., Rottenberg, J., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2007). Can the distress-signal and arousal-reduction views of crying be reconciled? Evidence from the cardiovascular system. Emotion, 7, 458.

Hiscock, H., & Jordan, B. (2004). 1. Problem crying in infancy. Medical journal of Australia, 181, 507-507.

Kottler, J. A. (1996). The language of tears. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Matthews, G., & Deary, I. J. (1998). Personality traits. Cambridge University Press.

Labott, S. M., & Martin, R. B. (1988). Weeping: Evidence for a cognitive theory. Motivation and Emotion, 12, 205-216.

Miceli, M., & Castelfranchi, C. (2003). Crying: Discussing its basic reasons and uses. New Ideas in Psychology, 21, 247-273.

Hendriks, M. C., Croon, M. A., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2008). Social reactions to adult crying: The help-soliciting function of tears. The Journal of social psychology, 148, 22-42.

Plessner, H. (1970). Laughing and crying: a study of the limits of human behavior. Northwestern University Press.

Maier, S. F., & Seligman, M. E. (1976). Learned helplessness: Theory and evidence. Journal of experimental psychology: general, 105, 3.

Stougie, S., Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M., & Cornelius, R. R. (2004). Crying, catharsis, and health. Emotional Expression and Health: Advances in Theory, Assessment and Clinical Applications, 275.

Szabo, P., & Frey, W. H. (1991). Emotional crying: A cross cultural study. In Second European Congress of Psychology, Budapest, Hungary.

Truijers, A., & Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M. (1999). Shame, embarrassment, personality and well-being. In 2nd International Conference on the (Non) Expressions of Emotions in Health and Disease.

Vingerhoets, A. J., Cornelius, R. R., Van Heck, G. L., & Becht, M. C. (2000). Adult crying: A model and review of the literature. Review of General Psychology, 4, 354.

Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M., & Scheirs, J. (2000). Sex differences in crying: Empirical findings and possible explanations. Gender and emotion: Social psychological perspectives, 20, 143-165.

Vingerhoets, A. J., Van den Berg, M. P., Kortekaas, R. T. J., Van Heck, G. L., & Croon, M. A. (1993). Weeping: Associations with personality, coping, and subjective health status. Personality and Individual Differences, 14, 185-190.

Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M., Sanders, N., & Kuper, W. (1997). Health issues in international tourism: the role of health behavior, stress and adaptation. In M. V. Tilburg & A. J. J. M. Vingerhoets (Eds.), Psychological aspects of geographical moves: Homesickness and acculturation stress (pp. 197–211). Amsterdam: Amsterdam Academic Archive.

External links[edit]

A poem about giving yourself and others permission to cry (from Jenny Littlejohn of Striding-Ahead.co.uk) 

Please Do Cry

"How often, when someone cries

Do you hear them, so meekly, apologise?

As if somehow they’ve done something wrong

Instead, they’re just singing their healing song

How often when public tears do threat

your burning, shaming cheeks to wet

Do you try to blink away the pain

Treat it like some embarrassing stain

It seems to me, as we grow to adulthood

We are taught, crying in public is just not good

And when tears approach we shove them aside

Like a part of us, we just can’t abide

When you graze your skin and blood appears

You know it’s just your body shedding healing tears

It’s only natural that blood may flow

Allowing healing new skin to grow

Just why is it, that when our heart is bleeding,

when it’s just love that’s most needing

Do those that want to comfort us, sigh

There, there now, please don’t cry?

So, when next you have a wound to heal

Allow yourself to feel exactly what you feel

Embrace those tears like a precious prize

They are truly a blessing, totally undisguised

And when you see the tears of another,

turned inwards, their hurt they are trying to smother

Don’t turn away and walk on by

Ask them instead, please do cry"

~ Jenny Littlejohn

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