Cognitive Control as a Buffer of War-Induced Stress in a Middle-Aged and Older Israeli Sample

Edward Prager, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Three weeks after the outbreak of the Scud Missile crisis residents of Tel Aviv and the outlying regions, aged 50–91 participated in a study the focus of which was the relationship between personal (cognitive) control of the aversive environmental stimuli and (1) distress in areas of mood and affect, and (2) distress in interaction with the social environment. Personal control was measured along two dimensions: perceived control of the situation and attribution of meaning to events and their outcomes. Findings revealed no significant differences between age categories in levels of cognitive control or in levels of distress. Situation control emerged as the most significant variable in explaining variation in distress scores. Attribution of meaning, though significantly related to situation control, was only a moderately significant predictor of interaction distress. The findings support the thesis that the existence of a causal link between life events and psychological equilibrium makes theoretical sense only when the cognitive structure of such events for individuals is considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-374
Number of pages20
JournalAgeing and Society
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1995

Keywords

  • Gulf War
  • affective distress
  • attribution of meaning
  • cognitive control
  • coping
  • environmental stressor
  • interactional distress

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