Psychologist links true crime content to potential health benefit

Psychologist links true crime content to potential health benefit
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - As true crime tv shows and podcasts become more popular, experts share some encouraging news: the genre might not be as bad for your mental health as you might think.

Dr. Dorian Lamis, a clinical psychologist at Emory, said some groups of people may experience positive benefits from consuming true crime.

“We do know these could rewire the brain,” explained Dr. Lamis.

Dr. Lamis said true crime content could act similarly to cognitive behavioral therapy for some people. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients understand the root of a stressor and determine a strategy to combat the source of anxiety, depression, or other mental health difficulty.

“For PTSD patients or people who have experienced a traumatic event, they are being re-exposed to the traumatic event, which in turn lessens their responses to the event,” he said.

However, some people experience the opposite effect. Excessively consuming dark stories can increase anxiety, worsen mood, and disrupt sleep.

TV shows are typically more powerful than podcasts in terms of mental health effects.

“You shouldn’t be worried about watching true crime. Millions and millions of people do,” said Dr. Lamis. “But be aware of negative mental health symptoms that may be coming about through watching.”