Bad News Bums Us Out, But Not the Guys
If reading or hearing about tragedies and traumatic events upsets you, you're not alone. A study done at the University of Montreal revealed that women's stress levels, but not men's, skyrocket after exposure to negative news stories. The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.
In an explanation of their motivation for the research, the authors wrote: "With the advent of specialized television channels offering 24-hour coverage, Internet and smart phones, the possibility to be constantly in contact with the media has increased dramatically in the last decades. Despite this higher access to knowledge, the impact media exposure has on healthy individuals remains poorly studied. Given that most information conveyed in the media is negative and that upon perception of threat, the brain activates the stress system, which leads to cortisol secretion, we decided to determine how healthy individuals react to media information."
A release from the university quotes lead author Marie-France Marin as saying, "Although the news stories alone did not increase stress levels, they did make the women more reactive, affecting their physiological responses to later stressful situations. Moreover, the women were able to remember more of the details of the negative stories. It is interesting to note that we did not observe this phenomenon amongst the male participants."