War, Journalism, and Psychopathology: Does Gender Play a Role?

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Abstract

Population studies have shown that women are at higher risk for anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. This study examines whether the same gender differences occur in war journalists. The sample comprised 218 war journalists 78 of whom were currently working in Iraq. A web site was established to collect data, including symptoms of depression, PTSD, and psychological distress (28-item General Health Questionnaire) plus details of substance abuse. Forty-seven participants (22%) were female. They were more likely to be single (p < .0001) and better educated (p = .01) than their male colleagues. No statistically significant gender differences in frequency of substance abuse or symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, or depression were found. The behavioral overlap between the genders coupled with significant demographic differences suggest that women war journalists are a highly select, resilient group.

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