Adverse political events and psychological adjustment: Two cross- cultural studies

Michelle Slone*, Michal Adiri, Aviv Arian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The life events model was extended to the political arena to enable the comparison of children's adjustment reactions to political stress. The cross-cultural impact of adverse political events on psychological adjustment was examined for two closely matched research samples, Arab and Jewish children and Palestinian and Israeli children. Method: All children completed the Political Life Events scale and the Brief Symptom Inventory in their home languages. Results: The hypothesis of a linear relation between adverse events and psychological distress was not confirmed in both studies. In study 1, a direct relation emerged for both Jewish and Arab Israeli children. However, in study 2, when separated by nationality, results revealed opposite trends for each nation. For Israelis there was a linear relation, but for Palestinians there was a consistent inverse relation between increased severity of political life events exposure and distress, both for the global index and for specific symptomatology. Conclusion: It is proposed that these cross-cultural results stem from differential mediating coping mechanisms, specifically passive versus active strategies, which intervene between the stressor-adjustment link. The need to address short- and long-term consequences of political stress on children's mental health is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-1069
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Adjustment
  • Cross-cultural
  • Middle East
  • Political life events


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