Goren, Chen, and Efrat Neter. “Stereotypical Thinking as a Mediating Factor in the Association between Exposure to Terror and PTSD Symptoms among Israeli Youth.” Anxiety, Stress & Coping (early view; online first).
Background and Objectives: The negative impact of exposure to terror on mental health, as well as on the perceptions of each side of the conflict toward the other, is well-documented. However, the association between stereotyping, concomitant with perceived threat, and anxiety, was rarely investigated. The current study examined information processing attributes and exposure to terror as predictors of PTSD symptoms among youth at inter-group conflict, with stereotypical thinking toward a threatening out-group as a possible mediator. Design: Cross-sectional, with exposure to terror, need for cognitive structure (NCS), efficacy at fulfilling the need for closure (EFNC) and self-esteem, predicting stereotypical thinking and PTSD symptoms. Method: Ninth graders (N = 263) from two residential areas in Israel, varying in their degree of exposure to terror, responded to a self-report questionnaire tapping the above variables. Results: Stereotypical thinking was found to mediate the association between exposure to terror and PTSD symptoms, but not the association between the NCS and EFNC interaction and PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: The findings support Terror Management Theory, so that a negative and rigid perception makes it difficult to construct coherent world-view, thus contributing to aggregation of existential anxiety and PTSD symptoms.