We examined the reactions of 17 male inpatients on a secure psychiatric unit to television news coverage of the September 11 attacks. All had psychotic diagnoses. We hypothesized that self-exposure and affective response to the news coverage and use of social support would be influenced by predominance of negative symptoms. Additionally, we examined for the emergence of common stress symptoms and exacerbations of psychosis. Results showed a dose-response relationship between amount of viewing and magnitude of response to the coverage. Anger was the emotion most clearly tied to coverage exposure and the other response variables. A wide range of stress symptoms was reported. Hypotheses concerning the influence of negative symptoms were partially supported. A significant minority of the patients disclosed exacerbation of psychotic symptoms in response to the attacks. Patients who reported a negative emotional reaction were more likely to talk to others about the attacks, but social contact did not predictably lead to affective relief.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 28, 2004
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