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A hazardous profession: war, journalists, and psychopathology.
Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Sep; 159(9):1570-5.AJ

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

War journalists often confront situations of extreme danger in their work. Despite this, information on their psychological well-being is lacking.

METHOD

The authors used self-report questionnaires to assess 140 war journalists, who recorded symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised), depression (with the Beck Depression Inventory-II), and psychological distress (with the 28-item General Health Questionnaire). To control for stresses generic to all journalism, the authors used the same instruments to assess 107 journalists who had never covered war. A second phase of the study involved interviews with one in five journalists from both groups, using the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I DSM-IV Disorders.

RESULTS

The rates of response to the self-report questionnaires were approximately 80% for both groups. There were no demographic differences between groups. Both male and female war journalists had significantly higher weekly alcohol consumption. The war journalists had higher scores on the Impact of Event Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. Their lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 28.6%, and the rates were 21.4% for major depression and 14.3% for substance abuse. War journalists were not, however, more likely to receive treatment for these disorders.

CONCLUSIONS

War journalists have significantly more psychiatric difficulties than journalists who do not report on war. In particular, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is similar to rates reported for combat veterans, while the rate of major depression exceeds that of the general population. These results, which need replicating, should alert news organizations that significant psychological distress may occur in many war journalists and often goes untreated.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Ont., Canada. ant.feinstein@utoronto.caNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

12202279

Citation

Feinstein, Anthony, et al. "A Hazardous Profession: War, Journalists, and Psychopathology." The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 159, no. 9, 2002, pp. 1570-5.
Feinstein A, Owen J, Blair N. A hazardous profession: war, journalists, and psychopathology. Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159(9):1570-5.
Feinstein, A., Owen, J., & Blair, N. (2002). A hazardous profession: war, journalists, and psychopathology. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(9), 1570-5.
Feinstein A, Owen J, Blair N. A Hazardous Profession: War, Journalists, and Psychopathology. Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159(9):1570-5. PubMed PMID: 12202279.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - A hazardous profession: war, journalists, and psychopathology. AU - Feinstein,Anthony, AU - Owen,John, AU - Blair,Nancy, PY - 2002/8/31/pubmed PY - 2002/9/21/medline PY - 2002/8/31/entrez SP - 1570 EP - 5 JF - The American journal of psychiatry JO - Am J Psychiatry VL - 159 IS - 9 N2 - OBJECTIVE: War journalists often confront situations of extreme danger in their work. Despite this, information on their psychological well-being is lacking. METHOD: The authors used self-report questionnaires to assess 140 war journalists, who recorded symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised), depression (with the Beck Depression Inventory-II), and psychological distress (with the 28-item General Health Questionnaire). To control for stresses generic to all journalism, the authors used the same instruments to assess 107 journalists who had never covered war. A second phase of the study involved interviews with one in five journalists from both groups, using the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I DSM-IV Disorders. RESULTS: The rates of response to the self-report questionnaires were approximately 80% for both groups. There were no demographic differences between groups. Both male and female war journalists had significantly higher weekly alcohol consumption. The war journalists had higher scores on the Impact of Event Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. Their lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 28.6%, and the rates were 21.4% for major depression and 14.3% for substance abuse. War journalists were not, however, more likely to receive treatment for these disorders. CONCLUSIONS: War journalists have significantly more psychiatric difficulties than journalists who do not report on war. In particular, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is similar to rates reported for combat veterans, while the rate of major depression exceeds that of the general population. These results, which need replicating, should alert news organizations that significant psychological distress may occur in many war journalists and often goes untreated. SN - 0002-953X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/12202279/full_citation L2 - https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.9.1570?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -