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

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease (Impact Factor: 1.81). 05/2006; 194(4):279-86. DOI: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000207364.68064.dc
Source: PubMed

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.

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