In the aftermath of trauma: A community study of Bedouin IDF servicemen and their families

Yael Caspi*, Ehud Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Data are scarce on the effects of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on minority servicemen from non-Western communities and the indirect impact on their spouses and other family members. Method. Interviews were completed with Bedouin servicemen in the Israel Defense Forces (N=317) and co-resident wives (N=129) and mothers (N=67). Results. Servicemen had high levels of trauma exposure and PTSD. Aggression displayed by married servicemen fully mediated the strong and positive relationship between their PTSD and wives' posttraumatic, depressive, and somatic symptoms. Mothers' more severe emotional distress was unrelated to sons' diagnostic status, but positively associated with sons' aggression. Limitations. These include sampling method, crosssectional design, retrospective reports, and absence of data on onset of symptoms. Conclusions. Profound cultural barriers to care require a proactive approach towards non-Western servicemen, including (1) identification and initial treatment of trauma-related symptoms before discharge, (2) community education, and (3) training primary care physicians to address PTSD and related problems among servicemen and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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