Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms among Journalists Repeatedly Covering COVID-19 News.
Tyson G., Wild J.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many journalists repeatedly covering stories related to human suffering. This study investigates whether these journalists experienced higher rates of psychological distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms than those who have been working during the pandemic yet covering stories other than COVID-19 and aims to identify what factors may protect journalists from developing trauma-related symptoms. We assessed journalists (n = 120) working during the COVID-19 pandemic using self-report measures. Journalists repeatedly covering COVID-19 stories had significantly higher psychological distress (η2 = 0.04) and PTSD symptoms (η2 = 0.08), but not depression, compared to journalists who did not report on COVID-19. Rumination and numbing in response to unwanted memories predicted PTSD symptoms (R2 = 0.53) and may be risk factors for PTSD in this population. Unhelpful resilience appraisals distinguished journalists who reported on COVID-19 and who developed distressing re-experiencing symptoms from those who similarly reported on distressing material and who did not develop symptoms. Targeting resilience appraisals may be helpful in reducing re-experiencing symptoms after trauma exposure.