19 maart 2021

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Sian Williams & Tina Cartwright



Background: Journalists covering traumatic news events can develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, they may also experience perceived post-traumatic growth (PTG). The outcome may be affected by whether work-related traumatic stress has a degree of personal risk.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and PTG among journalists who experienced work-related trauma and to examine whether positive associations would exist between exposure to personal risk and PTG.

Method: A web-based survey measuring post-traumatic stress symptoms and post-traumatic growth was completed by print and broadcast journalists (N = 69) working for UK-based media organizations. An open-ended question asked participants how media organizations can help to promote growth after work-related trauma.

Results: The findings show a significant relationship between PTSD symptoms and PTG (p = 0.04). Journalists working in war-zones had significantly more PTSD symptoms (p < .001) and PTG scores (p < .001) than those who did not. Journalists who described their worst, work-related trauma as having a degree of personal, life-threatening risk, also reported higher levels of PTG than those who did not (p < .001). This was consistent across all PTG subscales.

Conclusions: This study, the first to examine PTSD symptoms, personal risk and post-traumatic growth within journalists, suggests those working in conflict areas experience significantly higher levels of post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth, than those who do not. Those who experience personal risk also had high PTG levels. Media companies can help develop PTG by recognizing when personal risk plays a role in covering demanding assignments. Participants suggested organizations also needed to allow sufficient time for reflection and meaning-making for all those working in hostile environments.

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Alle European Journal of Psychotraumatology
Het European Journal of Psychotraumatology (EJPT) is een peer-reviewed, interdisciplinair wetenschappelijk tijdschrift dat deel uitmaakt van de European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS).    Het EJPT heeft als doel om wetenschappers, behandelaren en experts te betrekken bij de belangrijkste vraagstukken rond stress en trauma, waaronder individuele gebeurtenissen, herhaalde of chronische trauma's, grootschalige rampen en geweld.