Bad news can damage your health

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Gloomy news is bad for your emotional health, according to the first scientific study into the effects of television news reports. The findings confirm what has long been suspected - that broadcasts of reports of famine, violence, poverty and crime leave viewers considerably more depressed than do happy stories of lottery winners and "miracle" recoveries.

The research, conducted at the University of Sussex and published in the British Journal of Psychology, involved three groups of people being shown one of three different types of news bulletin: negative, positive or neutral.

All three groups were in similar emotional states before the 15-minute broadcasts, but afterwards their moods varied - with the people who saw the negative bulletins showing considerably more anxiety than the others.