Norwegian version of this page

In the critical spotlight of the media: exposure, stress and coping (completed)

To get into the critical spotlight of mass media can be a heavy load for a person. What effect has mass media coverage on individuals? This project focuses on the subjective experiences of the exposed individuals.

What effect has heavy media coverage on individuals and how do they cope with it? Photo illustration:

About the project

The project is aimed at persons who have suddenly been exposed to critical scrutiny by the media. In-depth interviews have been done with 58 individuals who have experienced strong critical media focus in their work positions. The main focus of the project has been on the subjective experiences of the exposed individuals.

Research questions:

  • What happens in the interactions between journalists and the individuals under critical media exposure?

  • What happens with the exposed individuals and their personal networks?

  • What are the impacts on the psychological and physiological health and quality of life of the exposed individuals?

  • What kind of coping strategies do the exposed individuals use, and what are the short and long term effects of these strategies?

  • What does it take to deal with media exposure over time?


Inclusion criteria:

  • More than 10 individual coverages

  • Lasting more than one week

  • Related to own work role

  • Not having a criminal record at the time of the interview.

Research tools:

  • In-depth, semi structured interviews

  • Questionnaires


58 participants have been recruited from a wide range of professional roles (private and public companies, politics, health, culture and sport).  Of these, 38 persons have been interviewed retrospectively. 18 have been recruited in the middle of the exposure, and been followed up 3-5 years later (13 of these accepted to be re-interviewed). In addition, 10 seasoned politicians have been interviewed in order to get information about how to deal with media exposure over longer periods.

Later, 10 experienced media experts from different sectors have been added in order to throw light on various aspects of critical media exposure (legal, medical, ethical).


The project is financed by the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo.


Cand.psychol Kim E. Karlsen, Vinderen Psychiatric Clinic, Diakonhjemmet Hospital.

Published Jan. 19, 2016 8:46 AM - Last modified Oct. 18, 2016 3:06 PM