Viewing terrorist attacks on TV increases pain intensity: research

July 2, 2012

"Exposure to media coverage of terrorist missile attacks increases pain levels in people already suffering from chronic pain," according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

"Does War Hurt? Effects of Media Exposure After Missile Attacks on ," published in the online version of the in , showed that exposure to the attacks through the media predicted an increase in and in the sensory component of pain during the pre-post war period, but did not predict depression or anxiety.

These findings contribute to the understanding of the effects of terrorism on physical and emotional distress, and identify chronic pain patients as a vulnerable population requiring special attention during terrorism-related stress.

Prof. Golan Shahar and Dr. Sheera F. Lerman of BGU's Department of Psychology, along with Dr. Zvia Rudich of Soroka University Medical Center, assessed patients regarding their pain, depression and anxiety, as well as their level of exposure following the missile attacks during Operation Cast Lead in Israel's Negev Region. Prof. Shahar is also affiliated with Yale University's Department of Psychiatry in New Haven, Connecticut.

Stress and media exposure were also strongly related, suggesting that the amount of television viewing related to the terrorist attacks may have influenced how much stress the individual experienced.

"Patients' previous levels of emotional distress may affect their ability to cope with stressful situations, making stressors more prominent and influencing them to seek out more information about the situation," Prof. Shahar explains.

The study assessed 55 chronic pain patients treated at a specialty pain clinic. The patients completed self-report questionnaires regarding their , depression and anxiety before and after the three-week missile attack.

Explore further: Anxiety trait linked to postoperative pain in men following total knee replacement

Related Stories

Anxiety trait linked to postoperative pain in men following total knee replacement

February 8, 2012
Increased pain following surgery has long been linked to anxiety and "catastrophizing," an extreme response to stress.

Recommended for you

How the shape and size of your face relates to your sexuality

September 19, 2017
Men and women with shorter, wider faces tend to be more sexually motivated and to have a stronger sex drive than those with faces of other dimensions. These are the findings from a study led by Steven Arnocky of Nipissing ...

Behavioral therapy increases connectivity in brains of people with OCD

September 19, 2017
UCLA researchers report that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, when treated with a special form of talk therapy, demonstrate distinct changes in their brains as well as improvement in their symptoms.

People with schizophrenia have threefold risk of dying

September 18, 2017
People with schizophrenia are three times more likely to die, and die younger, than the general population, indicating a need for solutions to narrow this gap, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association ...

Cognitive scientists find that people can more easily communicate warmer colors than cool ones

September 18, 2017
The human eye can perceive millions of different colors, but the number of categories human languages use to group those colors is much smaller. Some languages use as few as three color categories (words corresponding to ...

Why bad sleep doesn't always lead to depression

September 18, 2017
Poor sleep is both a risk factor, and a common symptom, of depression. But not everyone who tosses and turns at night becomes depressed.

Happiness is not determined by childhood biomarkers

September 18, 2017
Happiness is not determined by childhood biological markers such as height or body fat, according to a team of European researchers involving UCL.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.