Thursday, August 2, 2018

Harvard study: 'Trigger warnings' are bad for your emotional health - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

They appear to create more anxiety than they are supposed to relieve.

A Harvard study shows something not very surprising about "trigger warnings"; they undermine "emotional resilence."

In fact, trigger warnings may lead to more anxiety than they are supposed to relieve.
Washington Times:
Published on Friday in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, the study found that trigger warnings do not reduce the anxiety that people experience upon encountering a distressing text.
The alerts even had the opposite effect in some cases, increasing “perceived emotional vulnerability to trauma,” “anxiety to written material perceived as harmful” and “belief that trauma survivors are vulnerable.”
“Trigger warnings do not appear to be conducive to resilience as measured by any of our metrics,” the authors wrote. “Rather, our findings indicate that trigger warnings may present nuanced threats to selective domains of psychological resilience.”
The study was released as college students, professors and administrators have widely employed trigger warnings on campus to guard against upsetting materials including the Bible, the works of William Shakespeare and the U.S. Constitution.
If you treat someone as an emotional invalid, they will become an emotional invalid. When I was a kid and we lost a classmate due to disease or accident, there weren't an army of psychologists and therapists that descended on the school ready to tell us it was ok to feel lousy. Perhaps it makes parents and teachers feel better that they are "helping" kids deal with the tragedy. And maybe it does. All I know is, families are the best remedy to deal with an emotional trauma. 

It's an open question as to whether being exposed to the bible or any white people causes any kind of emotional trauma at all. The fact that it might make some people "uncomfortable" is a far cry from being incapacitated by negative emotions. If there is incapacitation, it is the result of being told you should be incapacitated.
In the study, researchers tested the effects of trigger warnings by assigning 270 participants to read 10 passages from classical literature, five of which contained no distressing material and five of which contained distressing material, such as depictions of murder.
The participants were divided into two groups.
One group was given a trigger warning before each passage that read: “TRIGGER WARNING: The passage you are about to read contains disturbing content and may trigger an anxiety response, especially in those who have a history of trauma.”
The second group received no trigger warnings.
The study found that participants who received trigger warnings ended up with more fragile views of what they and others would be capable of after experiencing trauma.
Participants in the trigger warning group were also more likely to report greater anxiety levels after reading the passages, but this held true only among participants who believed that words can cause harm.
“Trigger warnings did not affect anxiety responses to potentially distressing material in general,” the study found. “However, trigger warnings may foster a self-fulfilling prophecy that increases anxiety for those individuals who believe that words can harm them.
“Hence, such warnings may increase acute anxiety by fostering an expectancy of harm,” the study continued.
By being told you are in danger, you get an increased expectation of danger. This is a no brainer and begs the question; did we really need a Harvard study to tell us this?

I think it shows how totally out of touch with reality PC administrators are. They have created what we used to call in my youth, a "false consciousness." Inadvertently, they have set students up to receive an even more traumatic shock when they leave the "safety" of the campus and enter the real world where reality bears no relationship to the world they just left. 

The trouble is that even the real world is adopting this nonsensical notion. Producers and creators of TV shows worry about "triggering" viewers. Some workplaces have created "safe spaces." You have to wonder how far this flight from reality will take us and what the eventual consequences will be.

Rick Moran


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