The Stigma Behind Gossip

Sofia Vinueza, Multimedia Editor

When one hears the word gossip, oftentimes they think of people talking badly about a person behind their back with cruel intentions. While this is not all wrong, it is not completely correct, either. The word gossip has developed a strong negative connotation, when in some situations, gossip can be positive. Starting in the early 19th century, the definition of gossip was broadened from being about the topic and the people involved in the conversation. 

Scientists at the University of Pavia, located in Italy, found that although gossiping is not an act of kindness, it increases love hormone oxytocin levels in women and decreases stress hormone cortisol levels, making it actually good for your health. On the other hand if you are the one being gossiped about it can have negative effects on your self esteem, or self confidence. 

Cortisol, a stress hormone important in helping the body during stressful situations. However, when cortisol levels become higher than normal, it can actually cause more harm than good.Oxytocin is a hormone that is linked to trust, empathy and relationship-building. 

According to The Atlantic, only about 3% of gossip has negative intentions, and can still have positive effects, in that it builds relationships between the people involved in the conversation. An example of positive gossip being “She is so nice and pretty.” 

Throughout history, gossip has not only helped people make their groups smaller and easier to handle, it has also given people the ability to become more aware of their surroundings and to build on their character based off of the characters of others.  

Just because gossiping has those benefits does not mean it should happen. It also has some negative impacts. According to Verywell Family a site that goes into depth on the different forms and effects of gossip, gossip can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders and anxiety. It can ostracize people and leave them feeling lonely and bad about themselves, which can overall lead to mental health conditions that affect their everyday life. 

Although gossiping has both negative and positive side effects, it is a tricky thing and should be avoided to avoid the risk of hurting someone.