Yael Lahav

Yael Lahav
Tel Aviv University | TAU · Department of Occupational Therapy

PhD

About

54
Publications
13,368
Reads
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690
Citations
Citations since 2017
41 Research Items
664 Citations
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Introduction
I am a licensed clinical psychologist, and a senior lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Tel Aviv University. My research focuses on the psychological, interpersonal, somatic, physiological, and functional facets of psychological trauma, as well as on the interpersonal processes involved in the victim-perpetrator dynamics - the phenomenon of identification with the aggressor. For more information see: https://www.yael-lahav-lab.com/ Or : https://www.dr-yael-lahav-lab.com/
Additional affiliations
December 2018 - October 2019
Tel Aviv University
Position
  • Research Associate
December 2017 - November 2018
Stanford University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2014 - March 2017
University of Southern Denmark
Position
  • Fellow

Publications

Publications (54)
Article
Objective: War captivity includes a unique constellation of simultaneous somatic and interpersonal assaults. This raises questions about the link between attachment and somatic complaints among ex-prisoners of war (ex-POWs). Although the attachment literature assumes that attachment affects somatic complaints and not vice versa, to date no empiric...
Article
Background Childhood abuse has been increasingly recognized as a risk factor for eating disorder symptoms. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that childhood abuse may lead to identification with the aggressor, an automatic defensive process, to survive the abuse. Although it has been clinically implied, the role of identification with the aggre...
Article
Full-text available
This study explored the relation between guilt and identification with the aggressor (IWA) and the moderating role of IWA in the relation between intimate partner violence (IPV) and guilt. An online survey was conducted among a convenience sample of 700 women. IPV survivors demonstrated elevated guilt, and IWA was related to guilt. Furthermore, IWA...
Article
Study questions: Although most women who are subjected to intimate partner violence attempt to leave their abusive partners, many return, and resultantly are at risk for even greater violence. Research to date has documented relations between several factors (income and economic dependence, frequency of intimate partner violence (IPV), fear of vio...
Article
Objectives: Evidence suggests that individuals with physical disability may suffer from psychological distress and accelerated cellular aging, manifested by shortened telomere length (TL), compared with healthy individuals. Studies indicate that high levels of perceived stress and depression may increase the physiological susceptibility and thus,...
Article
Full-text available
Background The COVID-19 pandemic might be experienced as an ongoing traumatic event and could result in peritraumatic stress symptoms. Evidence implies that individuals’ levels of death anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and difficulties in emotion regulation may contribute to their peritraumatic stress symptomatology in the aftermath of trauma exposure...
Article
Objective Childhood abuse survivors are at risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Research has indicated that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and dissociation are related to elevated suicidal ideation and behavior (SIB) among this population. At the same time, although the theoretical and clinical literature in the trauma fi...
Article
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global health problem that often results in a variety of mental health detriments, including trauma-related distress and depressive symptoms. According to the trauma literature, IPV victims may develop strong bonds with their perpetrators – a phenomenon known as identification with the aggressor (IWA) – in order...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic may be experienced as traumatogenic and may fuel or exacerbate psychological distress and trauma-related symptoms. Based on trauma research, one might expect that survivors of childhood abuse would be susceptible to these negative outcomes during the pandemic, and that among this population a stronger relation between emotion...
Article
Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing stressor that may have detrimental effects on mental health. Theoretical and empirical literature implies that individuals who are characterized by catastrophic appraisals of somatic cues, a tendency known as anxiety sensitivity, as well as by older subjective age, might be particularly vulnerable to d...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing stressor that may have detrimental effects on mental health. Theoretical and empirical literature implies that individuals who are characterized by catastrophic appraisals of somatic cues, a tendency known as anxiety sensitivity, as well as by older subjective age, might be particularly vulnerable to...
Article
For combat veterans, the trauma of war can have lasting effects, that may later extend to attitudes toward one's own aging (ATOA). The present study sought to examine whether attachment insecurities may help to predict ATOA in later life, while also exploring the moderating role of combat exposure concerning the effects of attachment insecurities o...
Article
Trauma survivors who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms may be particularly vulnerable when facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet trauma exposure may also lead to salutogenic outcomes, known as posttraumatic growth (PTG). Nevertheless, the implications of PTG attributed to prior trauma, for trauma survivors’ adjustment when facin...
Article
The present study sought to examine the relations between a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and sexual motivations and to explore the moderating role of dissociation within these relations. The study was conducted among 889 men and women (ages 18-70). Results indicated a history of CSA was significantly related to higher scores on self-affi...
Article
Objective The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a substantial stressor that could eventuate in psychological distress. Evidence suggests that individuals previously exposed to traumatic events, and particularly to continuous traumatic stress (CTS), might be more vulnerable to distress when facing additional stressors. This study aimed to investigate...
Article
Chronic pain induces a multitude of harmful effects; recently it has been suggested that chronic pain is also associated with premature aging, manifested in shortened telomere length (TL). However, evidence for this hypothesis is scarce and inconsistent. The aim was twofold: 1) Investigate whether chronic pain is associated with premature aging, an...
Article
Background Research has revealed that survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) have elevated sexual dysfunction and distress. Nevertheless, a vast majority of studies examining sexual dysfunction and distress among CSA survivors were conducted among women only, and the moderating role of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms between a his...
Article
Childhood abuse survivors may display both inward and outward aggression manifested in self-injurious behavior (SIB) and violent acts toward others. Scrutinizing the literature reveals that the relational dynamics between victims and their perpetrators might be involved in these phenomena. Yet, research on this subject matter has been sparse. Filli...
Article
Background Despite the fact that childhood sexual abuse can affect a survivor's sexual functioning in adulthood, few studies have examined survivors' adult sexual functioning from the perspective of attachment theory. Aim The present study sought to examine how sexual abuse in childhood might shape the associations between attachment insecurities...
Article
Rationale: Aging veterans often suffer from increased vulnerability, manifested among other things in old subjective age and poor perceived health. Though research has documented the contribution of trauma related variables to these negative appraisals, their associations with impostorism (i.e., the subjective experience that one is less adequate...
Article
Despite increasing interest in the mental health of aging veterans, the pathogenic and salutogenic ramifications of war have not been investigated among aging veterans who received decorations of valor. Filling this gap, 73 Israeli decorated veterans (DVs) and 73 non-decorated veterans (n-DVs) (Mage = 68.5) were assessed for posttraumatic stress sy...
Article
Background: The majority of studies investigating child pornography have focused on conceptualizing the problem and the harm of the crime, evaluating the risk for child pornography offending, or discuss preventive measures. Little is known about survivors of this type of crime. Objective: This research explores the relationship between child por...
Article
Identifying with the aggressor is a process wherein victims of abuse, particularly during childhood, take on their perpetrator’s experience. The victim defers to the perpetrator and adopts the perpetrator’s experience, learns the perpetrator’s desires and needs, and gratifies them. Although the clinical and theoretical literature suggests that iden...
Article
Trauma survivors may suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), elevated posttraumatic guilt (PG), and alterations in the pain system. However, the association between PG and alterations in pain perception and modulation among trauma survivors has not been established, nor has the possible underlying role of PG. This longitudinal study inves...
Article
Background Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) survivors are at high risk of sexual revictimization. At the same time, some survivors report positive transformations resulting from the traumatic experience, a phenomenon known as post-traumatic growth (PTG). Although one might expect PTG to be related to reduced risk of revictimization, the link between PT...
Article
Spouses of former prisoners-of-war (ex-POWs) are at risk for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS) and marital distress. This longitudinal study assessed the implications of PTSS and self-differentiation in sexual satisfaction among 90 ex-POWs' spouses and 75 matched combatants' spouses of the 1973 Yom-Kippur War. Standardized questionnaires were us...
Article
Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) poses a risk for sexual revictimization. Additionally, according to theory CSA may lead to identification with the aggressor, expressed by adopting the perpetrator’s experience concerning the abuse; identifying with the perpetrator’s aggression; replacing one’s agency with that of the perpetrator; and becoming hyper-sen...
Article
Living with veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated distress in spouses. Moreover, military spouses are at an elevated risk for domestic abuse, which might exacerbate their plight. Forgiveness is posited to have a healing effect for individuals, both in general as well as in the context of marital...
Article
Objectives: Telomere length (TL) is a robust indicator of cellular aging. TL erosion has been associated with exposure to social and traumatic stressors. Loneliness and perceived social support are strongly linked to increased morbidity and mortality, but have yet to be investigated in relation to TL after extreme stress. The present study examine...
Article
Full-text available
Spouses of traumatized war veterans might suffer from distress following indirect exposure to combat and direct exposure to domestic abuse. Yet the effect of this twofold trauma exposure is far from being fully understood. Theory views attachment security as a personal resource mitigating adversity, whereas attachment insecurities intensify distres...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes the Two-Track Differentiation Paradigm, an updated therapeutic methodology within psychotherapy. The Two-Track Differentiation Paradigm is based on the assumption that patients habitually regard their problems as one-dimensional and thus tend to become rigid in their attitudes toward these problems. The paradigm suggests a psyc...
Article
Objectives: Exposure to captivity increases the risk for multiple disturbances that may intensify during old age. In later phases of life, former-prisoners-of-war (ex-POWs) may suffer from depression as well as from accelerated aging, manifested in older subjective age and leukocyte telomere shortening. The current study assesses the link between...
Article
Background: The objectives of the current study were to investigate (1) the longitudinal, reciprocal associations between pain and post-traumatic stress symptoms as proposed by the mutual maintenance model, and (2) to assess the predictive value of the three clusters of post-traumatic stress, where the model revealed that post-traumatic stress sym...
Article
Orientation to bodily signals is defined as the way somatic sensations are attended, perceived and interpreted. Research suggests that trauma exposure, particularly the pathological reaction to trauma (i.e., PTSD), is associated with catastrophic and frightful orientation to bodily signals. However, little is known regarding the long-term ramificat...
Article
Repercussions of war captivity may transmit to spouses of former prisoners of war (POW) via posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Overidentification with their partners underlies the PTSS experienced by former wives of POWs, thus implying impaired self-differentiation. Although wives' indirect exposure to their husbands' captivity and subsequent PT...
Article
Background Consistent with the human tendency to anthropomorphize objects, events, and situations, individuals might ascribe human characteristics to physical symptoms and illnesses. This manuscript presents an examination of chronic pain personification in torture survivors. Specifically, it was hypothesized that torture survivors personify chroni...
Article
Full-text available
The controversy regarding the nature of posttraumatic growth includes two main competing claims: one which argues that posttraumatic growth reflects authentic positive changes and the other which argues that posttraumatic growth reflects illusory defenses. While the former might suggest that posttraumatic growth enhances intimacy and close relation...
Article
Full-text available
Background: It is well documented that comorbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in chronic pain is associated with a more severe symptom profile with respect to pain, disability and psychological distress. However, very few intervention studies exist targeting both PTSD and pain. The current study is the first randomized controlled trial eval...
Article
Objective: The controversy regarding the nature of posttraumatic growth (PTG) includes two main competing claims: one which argues that PTG reflects authentic positive changes and the other which argues that PTG reflects illusionary defenses. The former also suggests that PTG evolves from shattered world assumptions (WA), and that the co-occurrence...
Chapter
Full-text available
Treatment of survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) poses difficult challenges for therapists. This is, namely, because of the wide array of powerful countertransference (CT) reactions. A vast amount of literature exists which describes these patterns. However, discussion until now has predominantly focused on the reaction of therapists to the n...
Article
Literature has suggested that auditory hallucinations might be prevalent in the general population and could be linked to the experience of trauma. This prospective study examines the prevalence of auditory hallucinations in trauma survivors and its association with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, over time. Former prisoners-of-war (...
Article
Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is an extreme traumatic event associated with numerous long lasting difficulties and symptoms (e.g., Herman, 1992). These include, among other things, the impediment of basic interpersonal structures of attachment (Rumstein-McKean & Hunsley, 2001), as well as impairment of mental integration manifested in dissociation (...
Article
Participants: were 59 torture survivors and 44 age-matched healthy controls (HC). Chronic pain was characterized. Pain threshold, pain tolerance, conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and temporal summation of pain (TSP) were measured. Three PTSD trajectories were identified among torture survivors; chronic, delayed and resilient. Lack of CPM and more...
Article
Objective: Most research concerning the implications of self-disclosure on trauma's aftermath has focused on the salubrious effects disclosure may foster for the primary victim. However, the manner in which recipients of disclosure are symptomatically affected by it remains unexamined. Of particular interest are spouses who are often the primary su...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Attachment orientations are associated with the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the mediator role of trauma type in the association between attachment orientation and PTSD remains unknown. Method: The relationship between trauma type, attachment, and PTSD was investigated in a large multiple trauma sample (n...
Article
The contested discourse regarding the nature of posttraumatic growth (PTG) includes 2 main competitive claims. The first argues that PTG reflects authentic positive transformation while the second posits that PTG reflects illusory defenses that could be maladaptive in the long run. The present study assesses these competing claims by investigating...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the present study was to examine the directionality of the association between post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and attachment insecurities across time among indirect trauma survivors. Wives of former prisoners of war (ex-POWs), with and without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and comparable controls were assessed 30 (T1) and...
Article
Full-text available
The present study assesses the possible disruption effect of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) with regard to the protective role of attachment on pain, among ex-POWs. While secure attachment seems to serve as a buffer, decreasing the perception of pain, this function may be disrupted by PTSS. The study sample included 104 subjects who were comb...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The current study aimed to investigate (a) "secondary" posttraumatic growth (PTG) in wives of former prisoners of war (ex-POWs) and its association to husbands' captivity, husbands' posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and husbands' PTSD trajectories; and (b) the bidirectional relationships over time between wives' posttraumatic stress...
Article
This study examines (a) secondary trauma by evaluating World Assumptions (World Assumptions Scale scores) among spouses of Israeli ex-prisoners of war (ex-POWs) and (b) the relationship between the husbands’ current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and PTSD trajectory and the wives’ world assumptions. Data were prospectively collected...
Article
Full-text available
Secondary traumatization describes the phenomenon whereby those in proximity to trauma survivors develop psychological symptoms similar to those experienced by the direct survivor. The current study examined secondary trauma (ST) and generalized distress symptoms (general psychiatric symptomatology, functional disability, and self-rated health) in...

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