Positive and negative changes in the lives of Israeli former prisoners of war

Zahava Solomon*, Mark A. Waysman, Yuval Neria, Abraham Ohry, Joseph Schwarzwald, Michael Wiener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of traumatic stress has been biased toward pathological perspectives, with relatively few investigations assessing salutogenic possibilities. The present study assesses (1) both positive and negative psychological consequences of war captivity, and (2) the contribution of specific stressors and coping in captivity and at homecoming, to positive and negative changes. Participants in the study were 164 ex-POWs and 184 comparable controls. Results indicated that in both groups positive changes were more frequently endorsed than negative ones. Ex-POWs and controls did not differ in positive changes, yet the former reported more negative changes than the latter. The multidimensionality of human response to trauma is discussed. It is suggested that many trauma victims are able to compartmentalize their reactions and thus contain their distress so that it does not undermine subsequent psychological growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-435
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


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