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Journal Article

Citation

Ma Z, Xia Y, Lin Z. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019; 16(18): e16183239.

Affiliation

School of Journalism and Communication, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China. lzhongx55@sina.com.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/ijerph16183239

PMID

31487834

Abstract

Media exposure during a traumatic event has been found to be associated with negative psychological consequences. However, the post-disaster role of the mass media and the possible positive psychological consequences of media exposure has received less attention. In the present study, we hypothesized that exposure to memorial media reports would lead to improved post-traumatic growth (PTG). Further, we evaluated the moderating role of self-esteem and long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the relationship between media exposure and PTG. Using a cross-sectional design, we surveyed individuals (N = 1000, mean age = 45.62, 43.5% male) who were recruited from disaster-affected communities ten years after the 5.12 Wenchuan earthquake which was the largest country-level trauma in the past three decades.

RESULTS revealed that individuals with lower self-esteem or lower PTSD symptoms would have higher psychological growth with greater exposure to memorial news reports. For individuals who reported having both high levels of self-esteem and PTSD symptoms, the relationship between media exposure and PTG was negative. These findings help present trauma in a new light, particularly regarding the rapid and instantaneous new coverage of the digital age. This study also has multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and clinical implications for the fields of psychology, public health, and communications.


Language: en

Keywords

PTSD symptoms; Wenchuan; media exposure; memorial reports; post-traumatic growth; self-esteem

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