Psychologists at Florida State University have published a new study that found “greater exposure to media coverage of traumatic events to be associated with greater symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress” in children.
It is now the most extensive long-term analysis of brain development and children in the United States to date.
This study was inspired by a previous study also conducted at Florida State University. Led by Anthony Dick and Jonathan Comer, this iteration analyzed how natural disasters affected children’s brain development.
This study confirmed suspicions of Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms and found variations in the brain’s threat-detecting region.
Four hundred children, aged nine to eleven, participated in this study. Scientists collected functional neuroimaging data and any history of trauma and anxiety.
Interestingly enough, during the study, Hurricane Irma hit Florida State University. While devastating, this hurricane nonetheless provided a perfect opportunity to collect information related to storm exposure, media exposure, and Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress may begin as early as one month after a traumatic event or manifest years later.
Symptoms may include intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions– all in varying intensity.
These symptoms cause “significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.”