The psychological effects of televised news were studied in 2 groups (n=179) of undergraduate students who watched a 15-min random newscast followed by either a 15-min progressive relaxation exercise or a 15-min lecture (control condition). Subjective measures of state anxiety, total mood disturbance (TMD), positive affect, and negative affect were obtained before and after the news, as well as following relaxation exercise or the lecture. The results show that state anxiety and TMD increased, whereas positive affect decreased in both groups after watching the news and 15 min later they returned to baseline (pre-news) only in the relaxation group, whereas they remained unchanged in the control group. These findings demonstrate that watching the news on television triggers persisting negative psychological feelings that could not be buffered by attention-diverting distraction (i.e., lecture), but only by a directed psychological intervention such as progressive relaxation.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Anderson, D. R., Collins, P. A., Schmitt, K. L., & Jacobvitz, R. S. (1996). Stressful life events and television viewing.Communication Research, 23(3), 243–260.
Berger, B. G., Owen, D. R., & Man, F. (1993). A brief review of literature and examination of acute mood benefits of exercise in Czechoslovakian and United States swimmers.International Journal of Sport Psychology, 24(2), 130–150.
Don, B.W. M. (1997). The effects of strength training on cardiovascular reactivity to stress and psychological well-being in college women (Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, 1997).Dissertation Abstracts International, 57(7B), 4704.
Galea, S., Ahern, J., Resnick, H., Kilpatrick, D., Bucuvalas, M., Gold, J., et al. (2002). Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.New England Journal of Medicine 346(13), 982–987.
Galician, M. L. (1986). Perceptions of good news and bad news on television.Journalism Quarterly 63(3), 611–616.
Gauvin, L., & Szabo, A. (1992). Application of the experience sampling method to the study of the effects of exercise withdrawal on well-being.Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 14, 361–374.
Grove, R. J., & Prapavessis, H. (1992). Preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of an abbreviated profile of mood states.International Journal of Sport Psychology, 23, 93–109.
Hargreaves, I., & Thomas, J. (2002).New news, old news: An ITC and BSC research publication. RetrievedMarch 27, 2007 from: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/bsc/pdfs/research/news. pdf.
Harrell, J. P. (2000). Affective responses to television newscasts: Have you heard the news? (Doctoral dissertation, Western Michigan University, 2000).Dissertation Abstracts International 61(5B), 2762.
Haskins, J. B., Miller, M. M., & Quarles, J. (1984). Reliability of the news direction scale for analysis of the good-bad news dimension.Journalism Quarterly, 61, 524–528.
Johnson, R. N. (1996). Bad news revisited: The portrayal of violence, conflict, and suffering on television news.Peace and Conflict:Journal of Peace Psychology, 2(3), 201–216.
Johnston, W. M., & Davey, G. C. L. (1997). The psychological impact of negative TV news bulletins: The catastrophizing of personal worries.British Journal of Psychology, 88(1), 85–91.
Nolen, H. S., & Morrow, J. (1993). Effects of rumination and distraction on naturally occurring depressedmood.Cognition-and-Emotion, 7(6), 561–570.
Potts, R., & Sanchez, D. (1994). Television viewing and depression: No news is good news.Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 38, 79–90.
Roper Starch. (1995).America’s watching, public attitudes toward television, poll commissioned by the Network Television Association and the National Association of Broadcasters (New York), p. 17.
Rosenthal, R. (1991).Meta-analytic procedures for social research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Russell, W., Pritschet, B., Frost, B., Emmett, J., Pelley, T. J., Black, J., et al. (2003). Acomparison of post-exercisemood enhancement across common exercise distraction activities.Journal of Sport Behavior, 26(4), 368–382.
Schutz, R. W., & Gessaroli, M. E. (1987). The analysis of repeated measures designs involving multiple dependent variables.Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 58, 132–149.
Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene, R. E. (1970).Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: Self-evaluation questionnaire. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Stone, G. C., & Grusin, E. (1984). Network TV as the bad news bearer.Journalism Quarterly, 61, 517–523.
About this article
Cite this article
Szabo, A., Hopkinson, K.L. Negative psychological effects of watching the news in the television: Relaxation or another intervention may be needed to buffer them!. Int. J. Behav. Med. 14, 57–62 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03004169