Risk and protective factors mediating psychological symptoms and ideological commitment of adolescents facing continuous terrorism
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.
SourceAvailable from: Orna Braun-Lewensohn[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The present study examined attitudes toward war and peace during a violent conflict and their relationships with anxiety reactions. We aimed to find out if attitudes toward the conflict in general or attitudes toward the specific operation are linked to anxiety reactions during a stressful situation and if a personal coping resource mediates the relationships between these attitudes and anxiety. Data were gathered on November 2012 from 78 Jewish adolescents living in southern Israel who were exposed to missile attacks during a military operation. Adolescents filled out self-report questionnaires which included socio-demographic characteristics; attitudes toward the military operation; ways to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; and sense of coherence and state anxiety. Results showed that most of the adolescents believed that a military operation would diminish the missile attacks to some extent or totally. Overall, adolescents who believed that a military operation would resolve the situation for a limited time were more anxious, while those who believed that it would open the opportunity for negotiation with the enemy, socialization, education, and mutual interest were less anxious. Results are discussed against the background of the meanings of growing up in the shadow of intractable violent conflict.Journal of Youth Studies 07/2014; 18(1). DOI:10.1080/13676261.2014.933193 · 1.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This article reports on the development of an education intervention, the Beyond Bali Education Resource funded by the Australian Governments’ Building Community Resilience Grants of the Federal Attorney General's Department, that applies a conceptual framework grounded in moral disengagement theory. Beyond Bali is a five module program for schools that is specifically designed to build social cognitive resilience to violent extremism by engaging self-sanctions and preparing students to challenge the influence of violent extremism that can lead to moral disengagement. The theory of moral disengagement has been applied to the study of radicalization to violent extremism to explain how individuals can cognitively reconstruct the moral value of violence and carry out inhumane acts. The mechanisms of moral disengagement through which individuals justify violence, dehumanize victims, disregard the harmful consequences of violence and absolve themselves of blame have been used in the construction of violent extremist narratives. However, they have not been applied to the development of intervention strategies that aim to counter the radicalizing influences of violent extremist narratives.Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 03/2014; 37(4). DOI:10.1080/1057610X.2014.879379 · 0.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Children and youths living in areas of political conflict are at increased risk of mental health problems, but little is known about psychosocial adjustment among ethnic minorities living in war-afflicted settings. This cross-sectional study used an ecological approach to investigate the unique contributions of child, family/social, and minority related factors as well as traumatic exposure and perceived discrimination to the mental health of 167 Druze adolescents in Northern Israel. Outcome measures included participants' self-reported posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, psychological distress, and emotional and behavioral problems. Adolescents reported high indirect exposure, moderate, strong ethnic identity and high religious involvement. Regression analyses showed that female gender, number of traumatic events, and perceived discrimination were associated with more severe mental health outcomes. In addition, low social support and high religious involvement predicted increased PTSD symptom severity, while stronger ethnic identity was associated with less emotional and behavioral problems. Findings are discussed in terms of the cultural characteristics of the Druze community and highlight the need to consider additional stressors, such as discrimination, when working with ethnic minority youth in conflict zones.Transcultural Psychiatry 01/2014; 51(2). DOI:10.1177/1363461513520342 · 0.99 Impact Factor