Reading Bad News Affects Women, How About Men?
Canada- Montreal | Oct 16 2012 | (23:03:07 - EDT)
Bad news articles in the media increase women's sensitivity to stressful situations, but do not have a similar effect on men, according to a study undertaken by University of Montreal researchers at the Center for Studies on Human Stress of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital.
The findings were published Oct. 10 in PLOS One. The women who participated in the study also had a clearer recollection of the information they had learned. "It's difficult to avoid the news, considering the multitude of news sources out there, said lead author Marie-France Marin. "And what if all that news was bad for us? It certainly looks like that could be the case."
The researchers asked 60 people divided into four groups to read actual news stories. In order to determine their stress levels, the researchers took samples of the participants' saliva and analyzed them for a hormone called cortisol. Higher levels of this bodily chemical indicate higher levels of stress. A group of men and a group of women read "neutral" news stories, about subjects such as the opening of a new park or the premiere of a new film, while the another two gender segregated groups read negative stories, about events such as murders or accidents.
Saliva samples were taken again in order to determine the effect of these news stories. "When our brain perceives a threatening situation, our bodies begin to produce stress hormones that enter the brain and may modulate memories of stressful or negative events," explained Sonia Lupien, Director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress and a professor at the university's Department of Psychiatry. "This led us to believe that reading a negative news story should provoke the reader's stress reaction."
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Source: Science Daily
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