It’s well known that experiencing a traumatic event like a plane crash or terrorist attack can lead to PTSD or cause other stress-related consequences. But, would you be surprised to learn that it may be more stressful to watch the news report about an attack than the actual terrorism itself?
This is the question Roxane Cohen Silver of the University of California Irvine and her colleagues have asked in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. And the answer seems to be that those who followed media coverage for long enough did indeed have a greater chance of suffering from symptoms of high acute stress, sometimes even more than those who were present at the site.
For me, just seeing a picture of Chris Matthews or listening to thirteen seconds of Mark Levine’s “rant voice” is almost enough to send me looking for a brown paper bag to breathe into for a few minutes so I can calm down.