Ethnic Density and Psychological Distress in Palestinian Israeli Adolescents: Mediating and Moderating Factors

Roni Berger*, Giora Rahav, Tamie Ronen, Ilan Roziner, Rivka Savaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Exposure to racism and microaggressions vary according to the community in which members of minority groups reside, especially its level of ethnic density. This study examined a mediating and moderating model of the relationship between ethnic density and psychological distress in Palestinian Israeli adolescents. Data were collected from 777 Palestinian Israelis in public high schools by means of five Arabic-written standardized scales, and a demographic questionnaire. The findings partially supported the theoretical model. As hypothesized, the findings showed a mediating effect of perceived microaggressions between ethnic density and psychological distress; family support moderated this mediation effect. The findings did not corroborate the hypothesized moderating effects of ethnic shame and pride and of family undermining on the relationships between perceived microaggressions and psychological distress. However, family undermining had a direct effect on psychological distress. The categories for the heterogeneous populations did not yield any findings in terms of mediating effect. The findings suggest that complex relationships exist among the variables. The support for the important role of social support and for the mediating effect of perceived microaggressions as a mechanism that explains how ethnic density is related to psychological distress is congruent with minority stress theory and with former empirical findings. The relatively average to high economic status of the respondents, the limited variance of the economic status variable and the nature of relationships and attitudes towards girls and boys in the Palestinian Israeli community may explain some of the findings. Study limitations, future research and possible practice and policy implications are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Ethnic density
  • Ethnic shame and pride
  • Family support and undermining
  • Microaggressions
  • Palestinian Israeli adolescents
  • Psychological distress


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