Journalists and depressive symptoms: A systematic literature review


Mental health research focusing on journalists has largely tended to give precedence to trauma exposure and subsequent symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. However, there are several occupational factors that may be associated with the development of depressive symptoms in journalists. This systematic literature review aims to provide a concise, comprehensive, and systematic review of the quantitative literature relating to journalists’ experiences of depressive symptoms. The systematic literature review method adopted was based on that prescribed by Fink and contains three main elements: sampling the literature, screening the literature, and extracting data. Key terms were developed and used to source appropriate studies from several electronic databases, a hand search of reference lists was conducted, and authors were contacted to suggest examples of their own work not yet sampled. The sample included 13 quantitative studies reported in English language. Journalists most at risk of experiencing depressive symptoms had (1) greater exposure to work-related and personal trauma, (2) experienced threats to themselves or their family, and (3) reduced levels of family and peer support, social acknowledgment, and education. An area for further investigation is the prevalence and experiences of specific depressive disorders within the journalist population. There are a number of theoretical and methodological issues that can be addressed in future research.


MacDonald, J. B., Hodgins, G., & Saliba, A. J., Metcalf, D. (2021). Journalists and depressive symptoms: A systematic literature review. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse. DOI: 10.1177/15248380211016022