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The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many journalists repeatedly covering stories related to human suffering. This study investigates whether these journalists experienced higher rates of psychological distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms than those who have been working during the pandemic yet covering stories other than COVID-19 and aims to identify what factors may protect journalists from developing trauma-related symptoms. We assessed journalists (n = 120) working during the COVID-19 pandemic using self-report measures. Journalists repeatedly covering COVID-19 stories had significantly higher psychological distress (η2 = 0.04) and PTSD symptoms (η2 = 0.08), but not depression, compared to journalists who did not report on COVID-19. Rumination and numbing in response to unwanted memories predicted PTSD symptoms (R2 = 0.53) and may be risk factors for PTSD in this population. Unhelpful resilience appraisals distinguished journalists who reported on COVID-19 and who developed distressing re-experiencing symptoms from those who similarly reported on distressing material and who did not develop symptoms. Targeting resilience appraisals may be helpful in reducing re-experiencing symptoms after trauma exposure.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Environ Res Public Health

Publication Date





COVID-19, PTSD, journalists, predictors, Anxiety, COVID-19, Humans, Pandemics, SARS-CoV-2, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic