Predictors of psychological distress in Lebanese hostages of war.
ABSTRACT A cross-sectional study addressed the experience of Lebanese hostages of war in Lebanon. It specifically assessed the prevalence of general distress and its relationship to captivity-related factors and selected psychosocial variables. Trained field researchers using standard measurements interviewed 118 Lebanese hostages released from Khiam prison, an Israeli detention center in Lebanon. Questionnaires administered included the GHQ-12 and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Individuals were detained for 3.4 years on average, and 86% were tortured. Psychological distress was present in 42.1% of the sample compared to 27.8% among the control group. In the multivariate analysis, the significant predictors for distress were: years of education and increase in religiosity after release. In conclusion, even after 2 years of release, more than one-third of the Lebanese hostages released from Khiam prison were found to have psychological distress. Caregivers need to pay special attention to the mental health of hostages of war. The paper discusses the meaning and implications of the factors predicting resilience and vulnerability in this particular population.