Trauma Exposure in Journalists: A systematic literature review


Journalists frequently cover stories relating to fatal car accidents, crime, murder, suicide, natural disasters, and various other forms of violence and tragedy within society. The present systematic literature review aims to provide a concise, comprehensive, and systematic review of the quantitative literature relating to journalists’ exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs). Such a review has not been conducted in this area before. The systematic review method adopted is that prescribed by Fink (2010), which contains three main elements: Sampling the literature, screening the literature, and extracting data. The range of PTEs journalists are exposed to are elucidated and discussed. This includes consideration of both work-related and personal exposure to trauma. The findings are beneficial to academics and professionals, in both psychology and journalism. Understanding the kinds of PTEs journalists are exposed to is the first step in developing procedures and support structures to safeguard individuals against adverse trauma reactions. Such findings can also be used to inform practice and policy within international journalism settings. This review raises a number of methodological and theoretical issues to be explored and addressed in future research. This study was developed from within the framework of psychological theory and research regarding journalists’ trauma exposure. Therefore, this article is structured according to psychological standards for research reports.


MacDonald, J. B., Hodgins, G., & Saliba, A. J. (2017). Trauma exposure in journalists: A systematic literature review. Fusion Journal – Dangerous Journalism, Issue 11. Available online: