Binge-watching news of horror attacks creates a vicious circle

Seeing wall-to-wall protection of domestic terrorism can cause individuals to develop signs of trauma. Those signs, in turn, can trigger individuals to look for more disturbing protection in the future, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break.

For a study published today in the journal Science Advances, UC Irvine psychologist Rebecca Thompson and her team spent three years collecting survey information from over 4,000 United States locals. The group surveyed these homeowners 4 times, inquiring about media usage and mental health. The cycle started with the Boston Marathon battles in2013 (Previous research showed that people exposed to 6 hours of daily protection of the Boston Marathon battle in the week following the attack had more stress than those who were in fact there) Thompson and her group discovered that the more people saw about the battles, the more upset they were six months later, and the more distressed they were about future negative occasions.

” When something bad is happening, you would like to know what’s taking place to be able to formulate a reaction to it,” discusses Thompson. It’s normal to attempt to collect info in these situations, “however the issue is that when individuals are seeing a great deal of actually stressful images and sensationalized content in the media, this does not necessarily make them feel better.” It makes them feel even worse and causes more worry about other dreadful events occurring in the future. The individuals who were most anxious about future unfavorable occasions were the ones who took in the most media coverage of the 2016 Orlando club shooting, which made them even more distressed.

Today’s study focused on those 2 acts of domestic terrorism, however the group is likewise checking out whether the very same patterns hold for natural catastrophes, such as hurricanes. Thompson became thinking about the mental effects of natural disasters as an undergraduate in 2011 after a tornado almost hit her campus “Being a part of that neighborhood during such a sort of life-altering occasion truly stimulated my interest in people’s action to neighborhood traumas,” she says. Previously this year, Thompson co-authored a study about how people who invested more time following news about Cyclone Irma experienced more unfavorable mental impacts

There are plenty of concerns remaining, according to Thompson. For one, we do not understand yet what sort of media (for example, television versus online) is the most harmful, or whether sounds and images together or individually is most traumatic. In the meantime, the key takeaway is that it’s great to take in media in small amounts considering that it’s natural to feel distressed if you do not understand what’s going on. “But the kicker is that what you don’t want to be doing is being completely consumed by this coverage and costs throughout the day refreshing Twitter and having the cable television news having fun with the very same video thing shown over and over and over once again,” Thompson states. That could have enduring results.

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