Some people may experience compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, becoming less sympathetic to the plight of others over time thanks to an overabundance of stories of violence and suffering within the media. Others may experience a reaction almost like those that have experienced trauma firsthand.
CONNECTION BETWEEN MEDIA EXPOSURE AND ACUTE STRESS
A 2013 study checked out the effect of continuous media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings on a bunch of respondents from big apple City, Boston, and also the remainder of the U.S.
The results indicated those respondents viewing news coverage for 6 or more hours were ninefold more likely to report high acute stress levels than those with minimal media time. those that had direct exposure had continuous acute stress symptoms but were less likely to exhibit high acute stress, perhaps, as researchers suggest because emergency responders were on the scene to supply support.
E. Alison Holman, Ph.D., lead author of the study, recognizes the results are correlational and therefore the relationship between media and trauma is complicated.
“It is feasible that this might happen, although I might caution that a lot of people have acute stress symptoms that dissipate over time. We are currently looking into the question of quantity (hours) versus content (images, sounds) which may predispose someone to develop lasting posttraumatic stress and other psychological state issues. At now, all I can say is that it seems that both really matter.”
In a 2007 study, 179 college undergraduates were shown a 15-minute news flash, followed by a 15-minute relaxation exercise or a 15-minute lecture. The negative feelings induced by the newscast returned to a baseline level only within the group exposed to the comfort exercise, suggesting that simply diverting attention wasn’t enough to buffer negative feelings.