Can Listening Hurt You? A Meta-analysis of the Effects of Exposure to Trauma on Listener’s Stress

Tzvi Michelson, Avraham Kluger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Although sharing traumatic experiences with others can facilitate Speakers coping, scholars have hypothesized that the listeners experience stress. We tested this hypothesis by reviewing published literature on the association between exposure to speakers’ trauma accounts and listeners’ stress. We found 49 articles with relevant data, reporting 142 effect sizes. To account for the nesting of effect sizes within articles, we performed a three-level meta-analysis. The meta-analytically weighted mean of the correlations between exposure to trauma and stress was (Formula presented.) =.15, p <.0001. Yet, the effect was highly heterogeneous Q 141 = 964.3, p <.0001, I = 88.6%, τ =.20. Based on τ, a 95% prediction interval suggests that the true effects of exposure and stress could range from −.24 to.54. Exploratory moderator analyses suggested that long-term exposure attenuates the association and that type of stress measure does not. These results show that exposure can stress the listener, calling for additional research to understand the conditions that mitigate this effect.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Listening
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Listening Association.


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