Coping of School-Age Children in the Sealed Room During Scud Missile Bombardment and Postwar Stress Reactions

Matisyohu Weisenberg*, Joseph Schwarzwald, Mark Waysman, Zahava Solomon, Avigdor Klingman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children's coping behaviors in the sealed room (a shelter against chemical and biological weapons) during scud missile attacks in the Persian Gulf war were examined in relation to postwar stress reactions. Three weeks after the war, 5th, 7th, and 10th graders (N = 492) completed questionnaires assessing coping behaviors and emotional responses in the sealed room, as well as current stress reactions and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite an underlying feeling of tension, the dominant emotional stance in the sealed room was one of detached optimism. Common forms of coping involved information seeking, checking, and wishful thinking. Emotion-focused coping such as avoidance and distraction strategies was associated with less postwar stress reactions than persistence at direct problem-focused actions once the minimal actions available had been undertaken. Fifth graders were found to use less emotion-focused and more problem-focused coping strategies than were the 7th and 10th graders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-467
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1993

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