Blaming others can make a person ill

A person who constantly blames others for their hardships in life could see their personal health suffer as a consequence. This is the finding of new research by Carsten Wrosch, a Professor in the Concordia University Department of Psychology and a member of the Centre for Research in Human Development, who has examined the link between such practices and quality of life.

Professor Wrosch has demonstrated - alongside his co-author Jesse Renaud, an alumnus of Concordia, which was founded in 1974 - that failure is one of the main causes of bitterness, as well as anger and recrimination.

He said: "Persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person's physical health."

Acrimony harboured for a long time can serve to forecast patterns of "biological dysregulation" and even physical disease, Professor Wrosch added, whose work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dr Sandi Mann, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "People who have a tendency to blame others for when things go wrong may have an external locus of control which can protect them against the problems that too much self-blame can bring - but too much external blame means that they stop taking personal responsibility and start to feel that events are out of their control. 

"This can lead to learned self-helplessness whereby they don't feel that they can influence outcomes in their lives because they feel that other people have more control then they do - and this can lead to the sort of negative effects referred to in this research."