Publications by authors named "Jonas Osmann"

2 Publications

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How have journalists been affected psychologically by their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic? A descriptive study of two international news organisations.

BMJ Open 2021 07 12;11(7):e045675. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented healthcare challenges. Journalists covering the pandemic at close quarters are working in ways akin to first responders, but nothing to date is known of the psychological distress this is potentially causing them. This study aims to determine whether journalists reporting on the COVID-19 crisis have been affected emotionally, and if so to assess the severity of their distress. It also investigates potential demographic and work-related predictors and whether news organisations had provided counselling to their journalists.

Participants: A total of 111 journalists working for two international news organisations were approached of which 73 (66%) participated in the study.

Primary And Secondary Outcome Measures: Symptoms of anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale-7 (GAD-7)), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)), overall psychological distress (12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)), and treatment.

Results: The percentages of journalists exceeding threshold scores for clinically significant anxiety, depression, PTSD and psychological distress were: GAD-7, 26%; PHQ-9, 20.5%; PCL-5, 9.6%; GHQ-12, 82.2%. Journalists assigned to cover the pandemic (n=54 (74%)) were significantly more anxious (p<0.05). Journalists who received counselling (n=38 (52%)) following the onset of the pandemic reported significantly fewer symptoms of anxiety (p<0.01), depression (p<0.01) and overall psychological distress (p<0.01).

Conclusions: Journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic are experiencing levels of anxiety and depression similar to those seen in first responders. Psychological therapy provided in a timely manner can significantly alleviate emotional distress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045675DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277489PMC
July 2021

Symptoms of PTSD in Frontline Journalists: A Retrospective Examination of 18 Years of War and Conflict.

Can J Psychiatry 2018 09 23;63(9):629-635. Epub 2018 May 23.

1 Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, Ontario.

Objective: The objective of the current study was to determine the frequency and severity of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in journalists covering conflict.

Methods: PTSD data (Impact of Event Scale-Revised) collected over an 18-year period from 684 conflict journalists were analyzed retrospectively for frequency and severity of reexperiencing, avoidance, and arousal symptoms. Conflicts covered were civil wars in the Balkans ( n = 140 journalists), 9/11 attack in New York City ( n = 46), Iraq war ( n = 84), Mexico drug wars ( n = 104), civil war in Syria ( n = 59), Kenya election violence/Al-Shabab terror ( n = 57), state-sanctioned media intimidation in Iran ( n = 114), and the current migration crisis in Europe ( n = 80).

Results: The mean age of the sample was 38.59 (SD = 8.35) years, 461 (67%) journalists were men, and the mean duration of conflict work was 13.42 (SD = 7.74) years. The 5 most frequently endorsed symptoms were in the reexperiencing/intrusion category. Mean intrusion (1.31, SD = 0.97), avoidance (1.08, SD = 0.89), and arousal (1.07, SD = 0.96) scores for the entire sample were in the mild range. Being female and less educated independently predicted PTSD symptoms.

Conclusions: PTSD phenomenology in a group of conflict journalists with well over a decade of frontline experience is dominated by reexperiencing symptoms. While symptom severity is for the most part mild, group means can obscure those individuals with significantly more severe difficulties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0706743718777396DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6109887PMC
September 2018
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