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News addiction linked to poor mental and physical health

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Many people might think that following the news is a good thing. But everything in moderation, as they say.

And that probably includes news consumption. The points out a new study at least.

Because according to the study, people with a huge news consumption are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and physical illnesses.

It is the negative focus on problems – of which we have had enough recently – that is particularly affecting the big consumers of news.

“For these individuals, a vicious cycle can develop in which, instead of dropping out, they are led further and further in, obsessing over the news and checking updates to relieve their emotional discomfort. But that doesn’t help. Because the more they check the news, the more it starts to interfere with other aspects of their lives,” says Bryan McLaughlin, a professor in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, according to MedicalXpress .

In the study, researchers analyzed data from an online survey in which 1,100 Americans participated.

The results showed that 16.5 percent of respondents showed signs of ‘seriously problematic’ news consumption. Consumption characterised by becoming so preoccupied and personally invested in news stories that it dominates one’s thoughts to such an extent that it interferes with socialising with family and friends and makes it difficult to focus on work, in addition to restlessness and difficulty sleeping.

This group with ‘severely problematic’ news consumption was significantly more likely to experience mental and physical challenges than those with lower levels of news consumption – even after the researchers controlled for demographics and personality traits.

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In the group of people who had ‘severely problematic’ news consumption, 73.6 percent had experienced mental discomfort ‘quite a lot’ or ‘very much’, compared with only 8 percent of other study participants with more normal news consumption.

In addition, 61 percent of the group suffered physical discomfort ‘quite a lot’ or ‘very much’ compared to only 6.1 percent for the group with normal news consumption.

The study was published in the scientific journal Health Communication.

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