Research ArticlePSYCHOLOGY

Media exposure to mass violence events can fuel a cycle of distress

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Science Advances  17 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaav3502
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3502
  • Fig. 1 Path model predicting relationships between media exposure and distress responses over time.

  • Table 1 Descriptive statistics for all variables of interest (N = 4165).

    AS, acute stress; PTS, posttraumatic stress symptoms; NYC, New York City.

    Variablen%Mean (SD)
    Gender
      Male192146.12
      Female224453.88
    Ethnicity
      White, non-Hispanic314875.58
      Black/African American3297.90
      Other, non-Hispanic2886.91
      Hispanic4009.60
    Education
      Less than high school2465.91
      High school diploma106325.52
      Some college/associate
    degree
    117828.28
      Bachelor degree or
    beyond
    167840.29
    Household income ($)
      <25,00059514.29
      25,000–49,99987521.01
      50,000–74,99978818.92
      75,000–99,99964815.56
      100,000–124,99954112.99
      ≥125,00071817.24
    Sample area
      Boston metro83918.61
      NYC metro77520.14
      National255161.25
    Mental health diagnoses
      None (0)341782.04
      Depression or anxiety (1)55313.28
      Depression and anxiety (2)1954.68
    Age50.01 (16.78)
    Prior violence exposure*0.81 (1.33)
    Boston Marathon
    bombings daily media
    (hours)
    6.09 (6.84)
    Boston Marathon
    bombings PTS
    5.11 (2.01)
    Worry about future events§1.99 (0.71)
    Pulse nightclub massacre
    daily media (hours)ǁ
    3.21 (3.60)
    Pulse nightclub massacre
    AS
    6.82 (7.38)

    *Prior violence exposure range, 0 to 12.

    †Daily hours of Boston Marathon bombing–related media range, 0 to 33 hours.

    ‡PTS range, 4 to 20.

    §Worry about future events range, 0 to 5.

    ǁDaily hours of Pulse nightclub massacre–related media range, 0 to 18 hours.

    ¶AS range, 0 to 56.

    • Table 2 Correlations among variables presented in the path model.

      BMB, Boston Marathon bombing; Dx, diagnosis.

      1234567891011121314
      1. Age1.00
      2. White
      ethnicity
      0.18***1.00
      3. Female
      gender
      −0.02−0.021.00
      4. Income0.010.14***−0.08***1.00
      5. College
      degree
      0.010.09***−0.05**0.35***1.00
      6. Boston
      metro
      0.04*0.14***0.07***0.020.14***1.00
      7. NYC metro0.09***−0.08***−0.07***0.06***0.06***−0.24***1.00
      8. Prior mental
      health Dx
      −0.010.010.12***−0.13***−0.06***0.02−0.011.00
      9. Prior
      violence
      −0.00−0.10***0.01−0.14***−0.07***−0.010.010.18***1.00
      10. BMB-
      related
      media
      exposure
      −0.03*−0.11***0.05***−0.07***−0.020.19***0.020.03*0.05**1.00
      11. BMB-
      related PTS
      −0.01−0.12***0.06***−0.14***−0.11***0.05**0.04*0.10***0.18***0.33***1.00
      12. Worry
      about
      future
      events
      −0.04*−0.12***0.12***−0.20***−0.14***−0.06***0.05**0.13***0.23***0.17***0.44***1.00
      13. Pulse-
      related
      media
      exposure
      −0.07***−0.14***0.01−0.08***−0.06***−0.030.05*0.04*0.05**0.39***0.29***0.23***1.00
      14. Pulse-
      related
      acute stress
      −0.00−0.15***0.09***−0.13***−0.07***−0.000.05**0.16***0.17***0.24***0.49***0.48***0.40***1.00

      *P < 0.05.

      **P < 0.01.

      ***P < 0.001.

      • Table 3 Standardized regression coefficients for paths not presented in the full model (N = 4165).

        VariablePath predicting
        Boston Marathon
        bombing–related
        media
        Boston Marathon
        bombing PTS
        Age−0.020.01
        Female gender0.050.04*
        White ethnicity−0.11***−0.08***
        Income−0.04**−0.07***
        College degree−0.03*−0.07***
        Boston metro0.21***0.03
        NYC metro0.08***0.04**

        *P < 0.05.

        **P < 0.01.

        ***P < 0.001.

        Supplementary Materials

        • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/4/eaav3502/DC1

          Supplementary Materials and Methods

          Supplementary Analyses

          Fig. S1. Path model controlling for direct exposure to the Boston Marathon bombing and the Pulse nightclub massacre.

          Fig. S2. Path model testing recursive media exposure and distress hypothesis.

          Fig. S3. Path model testing alternative directionality hypothesis for media exposure and distress.

        • Supplementary Materials

          This PDF file includes:

          • Supplementary Materials and Methods
          • Supplementary Analyses
          • Fig. S1. Path model controlling for direct exposure to the Boston Marathon bombing and the Pulse nightclub massacre.
          • Fig. S2. Path model testing recursive media exposure and distress hypothesis.
          • Fig. S3. Path model testing alternative directionality hypothesis for media exposure and distress.

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