Children affected by war and armed conflict: Parental protective factors and resistance to mental health symptoms

Michelle Slone*, Anat Shoshani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the role of parenting styles and parental warmth in moderating relations between exposure to political life events and mental health symptoms among 277 Israeli adolescents aged 12-14 and their parents, who had been exposed to protracted periods of war, missile bombardments, and terrorism. Adolescents completed the Political Life Events (PLE) scale, Brief Symptom Inventory and questionnaires regarding parenting style and parental warmth. The primary caregiver completed the Child Behavior Checklist for assessment of the child's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Results confirmed that severity of PLE exposure was positively correlated with psychological distress and with internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Maternal authoritativeness and warmth functioned as protective factors and had moderating effects on the relation between PLE exposure and mental health symptoms. In contrast, maternal authoritarianism exacerbated the relation between PLE exposure and children's externalizing symptoms. Fathers' parenting style and warmth had no significant relationship with children's mental health outcomes. These findings have important clinical and practical implications for parental guidance and support during periods of war and armed conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1397
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2017


  • Armed conflict
  • Parental warmth
  • Parenting style
  • Post-trauma
  • Resilience


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