First Faculty Advisor
Anxiety; News Media Exposure; Optimism
All rights retained by Danielle Hoyt and Bryant University
Recently, media research has focused on young people to determine what effect violent media images may have on aggressive behavior, but little research has investigated the kind of psychological distress similar images may cause. What emotional impact does increased exposure to negative and even violent news coverage have on young adults? In this study, the relationship between such news media and anxiety levels is examined, as well as the possible mediating role that an optimistic life orientation may play in that relationship. It is hypothesized that the degree to which these individuals follow news media will positively correlate with their state anxiety levels, but when accounting for an optimistic worldview, this effect will be minimized or eliminated. A survey was administered to a sample of 278 undergraduate students attending Bryant University that measured their anxiety levels, life orientation in terms of optimism, and news media viewing habits. The results showed no significant correlation between news media viewing and state anxiety, and therefore also could not support any mediating role of optimism either. Limitations and mitigating factors regarding this study as well as possible avenues for future research are discussed.