December 10, 2013
Those who experience a terrorist attack firsthand are prone to suffer from acute stress. That much is obvious. But does living that experience repeatedly through the media’s coverage of the event cause even more stress?
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.
The April 2013 bombing was the first major terrorist attack in the US since September 2001. The changed nature of traditional media and the introduction of social media in the intervening period presented an opportunity for researchers to understand how people cope depending on their exposure to such events.