Wolmer, Leo, Daniel Hamiel, Tali Versano-Eisman, Michelle Slone, Nitzan Margalit, and Nathaniel Laor. “Preschool Israeli Children Exposed to Rocket Attacks: Assessment, Risk, and Resilience.” Journal of Traumatic Stress (early view; online first).
Preschool children are among the most vulnerable populations to adversity. This study described the effects of 4 weeks of daily exposure to rocket attacks on children living on Israel’s southern border. Participants enrolled in this study were 122 preschool children (50% boys) between the ages 3 and 6 years from 10 kindergartens. We assessed mothers’ report of children’s symptoms according to the DSM-IV and alternative criteria resembling the DSM-5 criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), general adaptation, traumatic exposure, and stressful life events 3 months after the war. The prevalence of PTSD was lower when the diagnosis was derived from the DSM-IV (4%) than from the DSM-5 criteria (14%). Mothers of children with 4 or more stressful life events reported more functional impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning compared to children with 0 or 1 stressful life event. Children with more severe exposure showed more severe symptoms and mothers had more concerns about the child’s functioning (ηp2 = .09–.25). Stressful life events and exposure to traumatic experiences accounted for 32% of the variance in PTSD and 19% of the variance in the adaptation scale. Results were explored in terms of risk and resilience factors.