Reading tragic news can lead to depression and anxiety: researchers

In today’s society, it’s nearly impossible to escape national news, which is more often than not rife with tragedy. Yet, as we’re frequently made aware of these tragic news stories, be it through TV or social media, we’re less aware of the effects constant consumption has on our mental health. A new study from the Netherlands may help to bridge this gap.

Researchers were actually in the middle of a study on the prenatal and postnatal mental health of women in the Netherlands when they noticed women were “measurably more depressed” following the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash, Live Science reported. At this point, women began to list tragedy as a “major life event” they had experienced during their pregnancy. Victor Pop, study author and researcher at the University of Tilburg, said this became “a side note of the project.”

“We realized that possibly we could have very interesting data in our hands, because we had women who had completed the [same] questionnaires in 2013,” Pop told Live Science.

These questionnaires required women to measure their levels of depression on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most depressed. When comparing the two groups’ answers, Pop and his team found an increase in depression among women involved in the study in 2014, the year the plane crash took place. These women had an average score of 5.21 on the depression scale compared to an average score of 4.11 among the women who filled out the questionnaire in 2013.


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