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Viewing terrorism on TV causes more stress for women than men

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Women react with more negativity than men when viewing terrorism on TV

Women viewing terrorism on television report loss of psychological resources

Researchers have found women are more vulnerable to the negative impact of viewing terrorism on TV than men are. Television coverage of terrorism stresses women more than men, leading to higher levels of depression and hostility.

Researchers at the University of Haifa conducted the study to find out if there are gender differences in the effects of traumatic events between men and women.

The finding, due for publication in the journal Anxiety, Stress & Coping, shows women need different psychological resources for coping with stress.

Women were found to become more negative than men and felt more threatened; lacking resources when they saw terrorism on television.

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Prof. Moshe Zeidner of the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Haifa and Prof. Hasida Ben-Zur of the University of Haifa’s School of Social Work conducted the study.

According to Zeidner, “It is possible that the differences between men and women are founded in gender socialization, ‘teaching’ women to respond to terrorism with more anxiety than men.”

The researchers say loss of psychological resources causes women to become depressed when they watch acts of terrorism on TV, unlike men who viewed the same types of events as the women in the study.

For the study, women and men were asked to view terrorism on the television in a controlled environment where they viewed the same events. The participants were ten asked to share their feelings immediately after watching the events.

The authors explain previous studies examined differences in women and men and their response to stress by examining questionnaires about past experiences.

The women reported they felt more threatened and lower levels of psychological resources compared to the men when they viewed terrorism on television. The result of feeling threatened, for women, is higher levels of hostility, moodiness and negativity, compared to the men who viewed the same events.