Article Text

Download PDFPDF
6 PTSD and war photo journalists
  1. Anthony Feinstein
  1. Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Feinstein received his medical degree in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand. Thereafter he completed his training in Psychiatry at the Royal Free Hospital in London, before training as a neuropsychiatrist at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square. His Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. Degree were obtained through the University of London. He is professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and a past Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. He runs a MS-Neuropsychiatry Clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Feinstein is the author of In Conflict (New Namibia Books, 1998), Dangerous Lives: War and the Men and Women Who Report It (Thomas Allen, Toronto 2003), The Clinical Neuropsychiatry of Multiple Sclerosis (Cambridge University Press 1999, with a second edition in 2007), Michael Rabin, Americas Virtuoso Violinist (Amadeus Press, 2005, second edition, 2011; audiobook, 2017), Journalists Under Fire: the Psychological Hazards of Covering War (John Hopkins University Press, 2006), Battle Scarred (Tafelberg Press, 2011) and Shooting War (Glitterati Editions, 2018). His new book, Mind, Mood and Multiple Sclerosis (John Hopkins University Press) is due out next year. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and has authored many book chapters. In 2000-2001 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study mental health issues in post- apartheid Namibia. In 2012, he produced a documentary, Under Fire based on his research of journalists in war zones. It was shortlisted for an Academy Award and won a 2012 Peabody Award. His series Shooting War ( the Globe and Mail Newspaper was shortlisted for a 2016 EPPY award


War journalism is becoming increasingly dangerous. Journalists who define their careers by longevity in war zones have a lifetime prevalence of PTSD similar to frontline combat veterans. Local journalists can also confront grave danger, but unlike foreign correspondents, they work and live in dangerous places. They too have rates of PTSD and depression that well exceed that seen in the general population. Local journalists whose families are targeted are particularly vulnerable in this regard. Journalists who chose these dangerous career paths differ cognitively from their colleagues who have chosen less adventurous careers, most notably when it comes to decisions that entail risk. The ability to manage anxiety and fear in extreme situations may to a degree be modulated by epigenetic factors.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.