Navigation Links
Repeated exposure to traumatic images may be harmful to health

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 4, 2012 Repeated exposure to violent images from the terrorist attacks of Sept ember 11 and the Iraq War led to an increase in physical and psychological ailments in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, according to a new UC Irvine study.

The study sheds light on the lingering effects of "collective traumas" such as natural disasters, mass shootings and terrorist attacks. A steady diet of graphic media images may have long-lasting mental and physical health consequences, says study author Roxane Cohen Silver, UCI professor of psychology & social behavior, medicine and public health.

"I would not advocate restricting nor censoring war images for the psychological well-being of the public," Silver said. "Instead, I think it's important for people to be aware that there is no psychological benefit to repeated exposure to graphic images of horror."

People who watched more than four hours a day of 9/11 and Iraq War-related television coverage (in the weeks after the attacks and at the start of the war) reported both acute and post-traumatic stress symptoms over time. Those who watched more than four hours a day of 9/11-related coverage in the weeks after the attacks reported physician-diagnosed physical health ailments two to three years later.

Seeing two particular kinds of images in the early days of the Iraq War was associated with post-traumatic stress symptoms over time: soldiers engaged in battle and dead U.S. and Allied soldiers.

The study included assessments of participants' mental and physical health before the 9/11 attacks and information about their media exposure and acute stress responses immediately after the attacks and after the initiation of the Iraq War. Researchers conducted follow up assessments in the three years after 9/11.

The acute stress period refers to the first few weeks after the event and post-traumatic stress is any time after one month. Researchers started to measure stress nine to 14 days after 9/11 and within a few days after the start of the Iraq War.

Almost 12 percent of the 1,322 participants reported high levels of acute stress related to 9/11 and about 7 percent reported high levels of acute stress related to the Iraq War. After taking pre-9/11 mental health, demographic characteristics, and lifetime trauma exposure into account, people who watched four or more hours of 9/11-or Iraq War-related television were more likely to experience symptoms of acute stress.

"The results suggest that exposure to graphic media images may be an important mechanism through which the impact of collective trauma is dispersed widely," Silver says. "Our findings are both relevant and timely as vivid images reach larger audiences than ever before through YouTube, social media and smartphones."

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study appears in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, the flag-ship journal of the Association for Psychological Science. It was co-authored by Alison Holman, assistant professor of nursing at UCI, Judith Pizarro Andersen of the University of Toronto, Mississauga, Michael Poulin of the University at Buffalo, Daniel McIntosh of the University of Denver and Virginia Gil-Rivas of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

"When we consider that graphic images of individuals being overcome by the 2011 tsunami in Japan were shown repeatedly, that a vigorous debate occurred last year regarding the release of the gruesome death photos of Osama bin Laden, and that vivid and disturbing images of 9/11 will likely appear on our television screens marking the anniversary of the attacks, we believe that our paper has something important to say regarding the impact of repeated exposure to graphic traumatic images," Silver said.


Contact: Laura Rico
University of California - Irvine

Related medicine news :

1. Use of regional PACS network associated with lower repeat rates, costs and less radiation exposure
2. Study suggests possible association between cardiovascular disease, chemical exposure
3. Frequent MRI Scanner Exposure Might Affect Memory: Study
4. Mold Exposure in Infancy May Raise Asthma Risk
5. Chronic exposure to staph bacteria may be risk factor for lupus, Mayo study finds
6. Chronic Butter Flavoring Exposure Linked to Harmful Brain Process
7. In-utero exposure to magnetic fields associated with increased risk of obesity in childhood
8. DNA damage in roofers due to PAH exposure - possible cancer link
9. Adolescent sexual behavior tied to motion picture sexual content exposure, says MU researcher
10. Hair samples from infants show exposure to anti-HIV drugs in the womb and during breast-feeding
11. In utero exposure to diesel exhaust a possible risk factor for obesity
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of ... Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to ... said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as ... City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her ... would lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he ... he would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay ... Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne ... Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of ... Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Research ... "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical ... structures, replacing dumb structures such as vehicle bodies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical ... the "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan ... "Hongyuan Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop ... the strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: