Swearing Can Repel Emotional Support

A new paper is the first (by other authors) to cite the 2010 Ig Nobel Peace Prize-winning paper by Richard Stephens, et al., about how swearing relieves physical pain. The new study is:

Naturalistically observed swearing, emotional support, and depressive symptoms in women coping with illness,” Megan L Robbins, Elizabeth S Focella, Shelley Kasle, Ana María López, Karen L Weihs, Matthias R Mehl [pictured here], Health Psychology, Vol 30(6), Nov 2011, 789-792. The authors write:

Objective: The goal of this study was to explore the intra- and interpersonal consequences of swearing. Specifically, it investigated what implications swearing has for coping with and adjustment to illness.

Methods: …Participants wore the Electronically Activated Recorder, an unobtrusive observation sampling method that periodically records snippets of ambient sounds, on weekends to track spontaneous swearing in their daily interactions, and completed self-reported measures of depressive symptoms and emotional support.

Conclusion: [Our] exploratory results are consistent with the notion that swearing can sometimes repel emotional support at the expense of psychological adjustment.

BONUS: Richard Stephens, swearing, pain, Stephen Fry, and Brian Blessed, all together on the BBC discussing and demonstrating how swearing relieves pain.