This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Original Research

Stress-Related Responses After 3 Years of Exposure to Terror in Israel: Are Ideological-Religious Factors Associated With Resilience?

Zeev Kaplan, MD; Michael A. Matar, MD; Ram Kamin, MD; Tamar Sadan, BSW; and Hagit Cohen, PhD

Published: September 15, 2005

Article Abstract

Background: The inhabitants of 3 different types of population centers in Israel were assessed as to stress-related symptomatology during 2003 and 2004. These centers have been exposed to 2 distinct forms of violence-sporadic, large-scale terror attacks in the metropolitan areas in the heart of Israel and daily “war-zone” conditions in the settlements beyond the 1967 borders of Israel.

Method: A semistructured interview and questionnaire survey of a random sample of 314 inhabitants of a suburb of Tel-Aviv, a settlement in the West Bank (Kiryat-Arba), and the Gush-Katif settlement cluster in the Gaza Strip was performed. Symptoms of acute stress and chronic (posttraumatic) stress as well as symptoms of general psychopathology and distress were assessed.

Results: The inhabitants of Gush-Katif, in spite of firsthand daily exposure to violent attacks, reported the fewest and least severe symptoms of stress-related complaints, the least sense of personal threat, and the highest level of functioning of all 3 samples. The most severely symptomatic and functionally compromised were the inhabitants of the Tel-Aviv suburb, who were the least frequently and least directly affected by exposure to violent attacks. Because the Gush-Katif population is exclusively religious, the data were reassessed according to religiousness. The religious inhabitants of Kiryat-Arba had almost the same symptom profile as the Gush-Katif population, whereas secular inhabitants of Kiryat-Arba reported faring worse than did either population in the Tel-Aviv suburb.

Conclusion: Deeply held belief systems affecting life-views may impart significant resilience to developing stress-related problems, even under extreme conditions. Religiousness combined with common ideological convictions and social cohesion was associated with substantial resilience as compared to a secular metropolitan urban population.

Volume: 66

Quick Links:

Continue Reading…

Subscribe to read the entire article


Buy this Article as a PDF