Risk and protective factors mediating psychological symptoms and ideological commitment of adolescents facing continuous terrorism

Nathaniel Laor*, Leo Wolmer, Moshe Alon, Joanna Siev, Eliahu Samuel, Paz Toren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study evaluated symptoms, risk, and protective factors of adolescents from six Israeli schools exposed to continuous terrorism. All children in the grades selected at each school (7, 9, and 11) were administered anonymous assessment materials measuring posttraumatic, grief, and dissociative symptoms, as well as traumatic exposure, personal resilience, and family factors. A high number of risk factors increased the likelihood of negative symptoms. Perceived personal resilience served as a protective factor against symptom development, perhaps enforced by ideology. Girls living on the West Bank had less severe posttrauma and were more willing to make personal sacrifices for their country. Proactive interventions aimed at enhancing a child's personal resilience and ability to cope with continuous stress may help protect against later symptomatology following traumatic events. Facing terrorism, political ideology may serve a double edge sword: protecting against symptom development as well as contributing to the toxic cycle of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Volume194
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Ideology
  • Resilience
  • Terrorism
  • Trauma

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