This study aimed to investigate how mental health professionals experience and cope with the same stressor that affects their clients. It focuses on Israeli mental health professionals who live and work in the West Bank and were exposed to long periods of terror during the Palestinian uprising (the Intifada) and to the threat of possible relocation based on the Oslo Agreement.
The sample included fourteen women and eleven men, representing about 15% of the Israeli mental health professionals who live and work among Jewish populations in the West Bank. Data were collected in April 1995 during the government of the left-wing regime, when the stress of possible relocation was very intense. The results, based on quantitative and qualitative analysis, indicate that being marginalized is an important aspect of creating the stress. Commitment to the goal was found to be the stronger variable affecting coping. As for gender differences, the quantitative results and part of the qualitative results supported the “role constraint” hypothesis. However, both males and females of the mental health professions were found to experience their response to stress and to use coping strategies according to the “socialization” hypothesis.