Coverage of “Trump Trauma Syndrome” Misleading

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Robby Soave of Reason magazine questions the study, which CNN and the Daily Mail trumpeted, and actually did question the author of it. “The students were not asked if they were traumatized and they were not asked if they experienced a traumatic event,” the study’s author, Melissa Hagan wrote in an email to Reason. “A ‘trauma’ is clinically defined as an event that involves exposure to death or actual or threatened experiences of physical harm or sexual assault.”

“But in fact,” Soave points out, “as the study makes clear, the participants merely answered questions about their levels of stress in the wake of Trump’s presidential ascendancy (three months after the fact), and the study’s authors tallied up the results. They found that about one in four students ‘met criteria for clinically significant symptoms.’ This was noteworthy because ‘elevated symptoms of event-related stress are predictive of future distress and subsequent PTSD diagnoses,’ according to the study.”