Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

National Center For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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national center for post traumatic stress disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Media Personnel

The terrorist activities allover the world has increased in frequency and intensity. Like other events these activities now play an important role in changing  the attitude and behavior of the people.

Thepsychological effects of terrorism has started attracting the attention of various fields for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The rates of posttraumaticstress disorder (Ptsd) symptoms have been found to be increasing in the people who face the aftermath of these activities. (Arieh.Y. et. al, 2005).

Fear and Anxiety is bound to develop in everybody who faces the situation whether directly or indirectly. In most of the instances the  distress developed out of these experiences fades with time, but may be extended to Ptsd if does not disappear.

When considering the studies it is important to bear in mindthat Stress Symptoms measured in the immediate aftermath ofan attack are not necessarily ‘post-Traumatic‘.PTSD involves extreme threat, thatendures, despite the danger having passed (Vázquez et. al, 2006).

Transientsymptoms should in most cases therefore be regarded as a generaland not necessarily inappropriate stress response, partly reflectinginvolvement and concern with one’s own safety as wellas with the safety of the community, family and friends.

Symptomreporting will also be associated with actual losses of people,possessions and employment (Galea et al, 2002; De Lisi et al, 2003). The individuals will have experienced intense fear, helplessness of horror – an aspect of trauma which is now known to have significant implications for how that experience is stored in the

body’s and brain’s memory.

Media persons too, as common man will be affected by trauma work they get involved in. As with firefighters, soldiers or rescue workers, it is the media profession to witness and experience traumatic suffering and profound human distress.

Media persons have assumed macho culture, with some of the assumptions that they are not the story – so are not affected, are trained to keep a distance and only to report the facts, so are not touched. They might believe that it’s weak/ selfish/ inappropriate to feel emotions when the people they’re reporting have suffered such pain and anguish and they will risk careers if they acknowledge any kind of weakness. Media persons may want to believe they’re superhuman and unaffected by trauma. However, current research shows , not surprisingly,  they are not (Bleich, A., 2003).

Failure of self-care might be present which is dangerous. This evidence now permitssome estimate to be made of the mental health consequencesof terrorism and of the challenge for psychiatric services for media men.

The risk factors present for the sample are as-

  1. Exposure to war (Feinstein et al., 2005; Simpson & Boggs, 1999).
  2. Exposure to a greater number of traumatic assignments (Newman et al., 2003; Pyevich et al., 2003, McMahon, 2001).
  3. Exposure to higher intensity assignments (Smith, R., 2008).
  4. Time spent in the field
  • Younger journalists with less experience (Teegen & Wrotwinkel, 2001).
  • Veteran journalists with more exposure (Simpson & Boggs, 1999).
  1. Exposure to traumatic events in one’s personal life (Newman et al., 2003; Pyevich et al., 2003; Teegen & Wrotwinkel, 2001).
  2. Low perceived social support (Newman et al., 2003).
  3. Negative beliefs about self, others, & the world following trauma (Pyevich et al., 2003).
  4. Negative emotionality (e.g., anger, hostility) (Marais & Stuart, 2005).
  5. Difficulty with emotional [removed]Teegen & Grotwinkel, 2001).
  6. High perceived organizational stress (Smith, R., 2008).
  7. Avoidant styles of coping (Smith, R., 2008).
  8. Low perceived social acknowledgment by supervisors and colleagues (Weidmann et al., 2008).

The present study evaluates the incidence of PTSD in the media personnel after the terrorist attacks in Jaipur City.

Objectives

To find out the prevalence of PTSD in media personnel who have faced the aftermath of city bombing in 2008.

Hypothesis

1. There is no significant difference between the PTSD scores of the first and the

second reading.

2. There is no significant difference between the PTSD scores of the second and

the third reading.

Collection of Data

The data for this study was collected after the traumaticevent of bombing in Jaipur city in Rajasthan. The study group had a similar gender (male). Some of the sample were busy capturing news, corresponding tothe people in hospital emergency room and all were were the witness of event directly and indirectly.

Tools

The Clinician-Administered Ptsd Checklist (Specific) by National Center For Ptsd, USA was utilized, toconfer a diagnosis of PTSD at 1 month, 8 months and after passage of 2 years. This 17-item self-report scale for PTSD is based on DSM-IV criteria and takes 5-7 minutes to complete. These items tap into the Dsm Iv PTSD B (re experiencing), C (hyper arousal) and D ( avoidance).

Statistical Analysis

Data was tabulated through Mean, SD and unpaired t-test.

Results

The results show that the mean PTSD score of the media personnel busy in capturing, recording and writing of the event, exposed to auditory and visual images, present at the sight of city bombing was 45.2 within the month after the attack showing prevalence of PTSD in the sample. The score limit 44 and above indicates higher level of PTSD. The mean scores were found to be 19 within the year and 22 after the passage of two years just before the recent fear of communal riots in the year 2010 indicating absence of PTSD..

Hence, results confirming that the exposure to terrorist attacks is followed by a higher incidenceof PTSD and higher levels of Ptsd Symptoms in media personnel.Also conforming that with the passage of time and comparative declined terrorist activities the Ptsd Symptoms decline  and may aggravate with the opportunity as seen in the B, C, and D criterion .
Conclusion

Wounds whether physical or psychological take time to heal. Media persons are no different from other people. They too need to express that they are hurt, to seek and accept help and to allow time and space for healing.  The research also suggests that PTSD-like symptoms can take hold after an auditory and visual exposure to trauma, whether physical or emotional and may reappear.

Most people recover reasonably well from traumatic experience. But it is important  for journalists and other media personnel to recognise that Traumatic Stress can accumulate over time and can reappear with the opportunity and its impact on an individual can be compounded. Major news organizations should therefore immediately respond to the importance of providing support and training for journalists and other media personnel who may be exposed to trauma and traumatic stress in the course of their work. There should be preventive and intervention programs for this problem conducted for media personnel immediately after the traumatic events.

References

Arieh, Y.,  Shalev  and Sara Freedman (2005). PTSD Following Terrorist Attacks: A Prospective Evaluation. Am. J. Psychiatry, 162:1188-1191.

Bleich, A., Gelkopf, M., Solomon, Z. (2003).  Exposure to terrorism, stress-related Mental Health Symptoms, and coping behaviors among a nationally representative sample in Israel. JAMA, 290:612–620.

Feinstein,  A.  & Nicholson, D.  (2005).  Embedded journalists in the Iraq war: Are they at greater psychological risk? Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(2) 129-132.

Galea, S., Ahern, J., Resnick, H., et al (2002). Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the New York city. New  England Journal of Medicine, 346, 982 –987.

Vázquez, C., Pérez-Sales, P. & Matt, G. (2006). Posttraumatic Stress reactions following the March 11, 2004 terrorist attacks in a Madrid community sample: a cautionary note about the measurement of psychological trauma. Spanish  Journal of Psychology, 9, 61 –74.

Marais, A.  & Stuart,  A.  (2005). The role of temperament in the development of post- Traumatic Stress Disorder  amongst journalists. South African Journal of Psychology, 35, 89-105.

Newman, E., Simpson, R. & Handschuh, D. (2003). Trauma exposure and post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Photojournalists. Visual CommunicationQuarterly.10, 4-13.

Pyevich, C., Newman, E., & Daleiden, E. (2003). The relationship among cognitive schemas, job-related traumatic exposure, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in journalists. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16, 325-328.

Simpson, R. & Boggs, J. (1999). An exploratory study of traumatic stress among newspaper     journalists. Journalism and Communication Monographs, Spring, 1-24.

Smith, R. (2008). Trauma and journalism: Exploring a model of risk and resilience. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Teegen, F. & Grotwinkel, M. (2001). Traumatic exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder of journalists. An internet-based study. Psychotherapeut, 46, 169-175.

Weathers, F.W., Huska, J.A., Keane, T.M.(1991). PCL-S for DSM-IV. Boston: National Center For Ptsd – Behavioral Science Division.

Weidmann, A., Fehm, L., & Fydrich, T. (2008). Covering the tsunami disaster: Subsuquent post-traumatic and depressive symptoms and associated social factors. Stress and Health, 24, 129-135.

 

 

About the Author

Assistant Professor, Human Development, ICG, The IIS University Jaipur.

Hazelden – A Guide for Living With Ptsd: Perspectives for Professionals and Their Clients

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Written by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

September 1st, 2011 at 9:38 am

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