The mental health impact of terrorism in Israel: A repeat cross-sectional study of Arabs and Jews

M. Gelkopf, Z. Solomon, R. Berger, A. Bleich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Since September 2000 Israeli society has been subjected to numerous deadly terror attacks. Few studies have studied the comparative mental health vulnerability of minorities and majorities to continuous terror attacks. Method: Two telephone surveys (N = 512 and 501) on two distinct representative samples of the Israeli population after 19 months and after 44 months of terror. The Arab minority and Jewish majority were compared on measures of exposure to terrorism, posttraumatic stress symptomatology, feeling depressed, coping, sense of safety, future orientation, and previous traumatic experiences. Results: After 19 months of terrorist attacks Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis reacted roughly similarly to the situation, however after 44 months of terror, posttraumatic symptom disorder in the Arab population increased three-fold, posttraumatic symptomatology doubled and resiliency almost disappeared. Conclusion: We suggest that certain conditions inherent to political conflict situations may potentially put minorities at risk and may only be observable as terrorism-related stressors become chronic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume117
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

Keywords

  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • Minority groups
  • Posttraumatic symptom disorder
  • Terrorism
  • Trauma

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