Media Coverage Can Cause More Stress Than Being Present at a Terrorist Attack

Does constantly seeing and hearing about bombings on the news stress you out? Here’s a suggestion: after you’ve heard it once, turn the news off. Sifting through all the grisly details will only stress you out?

By how much? According to a study published in PNAS, people who experienced the Boston bombing through the media were more stressed than people who were actually present at the bombing.

Researchers surveyed 5,000 Americans two to four weeks after the bombing. One per cent of that group experienced the bombing first hand, nine per cent knew someone present, and the remaining group experienced it via media. Not only did the media group experience acute stress, but those who consumed more than six hours of media a day reported high acute stress.

Of course, that’s an idiotic amount of time to spend constantly watching, listening, and reading news. Then again, most of us can probably think of a time where we’ve been glued to the TV in the aftermath of a disaster. The lesson here is clear: unglue yourself.

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