Incident-Related Television Viewing and Psychiatric Disorders in Oklahoma City Bombing Survivors

Betty Pfefferbaum, Carol S North, Rose L. Pfefferbaum, Haekyung Jeon-Slaughter, J. Brian Houston, James L. Regens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine terrorism media coverage and psychiatric outcomes in directly-exposed terrorism survivors. The study used (1) self-report questionnaires to retrospectively assess event-related media behaviors and reactions in a cross sectional design and (2) longitudinal structured diagnostic interviews to assess psychopathologic outcomes. The participants were 99 directly-exposed Oklahoma City bombing survivors who were initially studied six months after the 1995 incident. Though a fear reaction to bombing-related television coverage and fear-driven discontinuation of bombing-related media contact were associated with diagnostic outcomes, the number of hours viewing bombing-related television coverage in the first week after the event was not associated with the prevalence of bombing-related posttraumatic stress disorder or post-bombing major depressive disorder during the seven years post event. The results raise doubt about the effects of quantified incident-related television viewing on clinically-significant emotional outcomes in directly-exposed terrorism survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Disaster
  • Fear
  • Media
  • Oklahoma City bombing
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Television viewing
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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