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On Trigger Warnings

Research has found that trigger warnings do not actually seem to lessen trauma response from upsetting content, nor do they protect individuals from such responses. In fact, more often than not, trigger warnings cause more harm than good.

Because trigger warnings involve assumptions about emotional reactions, particularly with respect to P.T.S.D., psychology researchers have begun to study whether trigger warnings are in fact beneficial. The results of around a dozen psychological studies, published between 2018 and 2021, are remarkably consistent, and they differ from conventional wisdom: they find that trigger warnings do not seem to lessen negative reactions to disturbing material in trauma survivors, or those diagnosed with P.T.S.D.

Trigger warnings themselves insinuate a negative reaction. They stigmatize the subject at hand, and further alienate those who have experienced it. Expecting anyone to trigger warning their own traumas, is expecting them to soften their truth in order to appease the comfort of others.

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