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Mexican journalists: An investigation of their emotional health

Authors

  • Anthony Feinstein

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4N 3M5.
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  • The study was funded by UNESCO.

  • The author wishes to thank Aura Campa, MA, for assistance with the data collection. Thanks also to Rodney Pinder of the International News Safety Institute, Mogens Schmidt of UNESCO, Dario Fritz of the Rory Peck Trust, Ariel Crespo and Tony Maddox of CNN and Marcela Turati of Periodistas de a Pie for their assistance.

Abstract

Mexican journalists are frequently the victims of violence, often drug related. The purpose of the study was to assess their mental well-being. Of 104 journalists recruited from 3 news organizations, those who had stopped working on drug-related stories because of intimidation from the criminal drug cartels (n = 26) had significantly greater social dysfunction (p = .024); and more depressive (p = .001) and higher intrusive (p = .027), avoidance (p = .005), and arousal (p = .033) symptoms than journalists living and working under threat in regions of drug violence (n = 61). They also had more arousal (p = .05) and depressive (p = .027) symptoms than journalists (n = 17) never threatened before and living in regions without a drug problem. These findings provide preliminary data on the deleterious effects of drug-related violence on the Mexican media, amplifying the concerns expressed by journalist watchdog organizations monitoring the state of the press in the country.

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