An exploration of female journalists’ experiences of covering potentially traumatic news stories : an IPA study

Schumacher, Ruth Elizabeth (2016) An exploration of female journalists’ experiences of covering potentially traumatic news stories : an IPA study. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

War-reporting journalists have a higher prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than the general population (Feinstein, Owen & Blair, 2002). However, no psychopathological gender differences have been identified (Sinyor & Feinstein, 2012). This is in stark contrast to evidence from the general population, which indicates women experience double the rate of PTSD than men (Kessler, Sonnega, Bromet, Hughes & Nelson, 1995). This study qualitatively analysed female journalists’ experiences of covering potentially traumatic news stories, with a view to exploring the lived experience behind the statistics. Interviews with four UK-based journalists, with extensive experience of covering potentially traumatic news stories, were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Three superordinate themes were identified; psychological responses to covering traumatic news stories, perception of support related to traumatic coverage and attitudes towards counselling. None of the participants’ psychometric screening surveys indicated significant post-traumatic stress responses, yet all qualitatively reported multiple symptoms, indicating a tendency to under-report and a lack of psychological mindedness. Conversely, post-traumatic growth (PTG) was evident indicating that perceived rewards mitigated adverse psychological outcomes. Support from management and colleagues were largely perceived as practical rather than emotional by the participants, if at all, with indications of a macho work culture which did not support motherhood but propagated inter-journalist romance. Dissatisfaction, ambivalence and misconceptions related to counselling emerged, alongside a preference for a non-stigmatised professional encounter, such as debriefing, indicating a need for psycho-education and specialised training for both media professionals and mental health practitioners.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Women journalists; female journalists; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Subjects: 000 Computer science, information & general works > 070 News media, journalism & publishing
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2017 14:36
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 16:04


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