Gender differences in loss of psychological resources following experimentally-induced vicarious stress.

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The present research focuses on gender differences in resource loss, perceived threat, and negative affective reactions induced by experimental manipulation of vicarious stress. Israeli students (54.7% women) were randomly allocated to one of two conditions: (1) Threat Condition (n=98), in which participants were exposed to a video film depicting terror attacks and (2) Control Condition (n=30), in which participants viewed a video film depicting a series of non-emotive news broadcasts. Participants also completed measures of mastery, optimism, and self-esteem. The data indicated that whereas under the Threat Condition women scored lower on psychological resources and higher on perceived threat than men, no significant gender differences were observed under the Control Condition. A path analysis revealed that gender was directly related to perceived threat and resource loss, which, in turn, were related to negative affect. In addition, a greater sense of mastery was related to lower resource loss. Overall, these experimental findings suggest that gender and mastery bear prominent effects on cognitive and emotional reactions to vicarious life threat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-475
Number of pages19
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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