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Closely Following Stressful News Events Linked to More Stress

Gianluca Rasile/Thinkstock(IRVINE, Calif.) -- The Boston Marathon bombings last April that left three people dead and more than 260 wounded was easily one of the biggest news stories of 2013.

If you were among those who watched the coverage for endless hours on TV, you might be at greater risk for stress than people who didn't pay as much attention to the traumatic event.

So says E. Alison Holman, an associate professor of nursing science at the University of California, Irvine. In fact, Holman reports in her study on the effect of shocking new stories that people who immersed themselves in coverage of the Boston bombing for six or more hours daily experienced level of stress more acute than those who were at the bomb site or knew someone who was.

After accounting for other factors, news junkies reported symptoms such as actually re-experiencing the bombings or feeling overly stressed out.  This finding was based on a survey of several thousand people from Boston, New York and around the country.

Holman makes a careful point that there might not be a cause-and-effect factor nor is it known whether people who got stressed watching hours of coverage all share something in common.  The effects on physical health or long-term psychological effects were not examined.

However, she does say that more exposure to news coverage seems to be linked to more stress.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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