Bulletin: Psychology and Psychiatry in Israel

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New Article: Siman-Tov et al, The Social Impact of Terrorism on Civilian Populations

Siman-Tov, Maya, Moran Bodas, and Kobi Peleg. “The Social Impact of Terrorism on Civilian Populations: Lessons Learned from Decades of Terrorism in Israel and Abroad.” Social Science Quarterly 97.1 (2016): 75-85.
 
URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1111/ssqu.12254
 
Abstract

Objective: This article considers the sociopsychological implications of terrorism, which are sometimes neglected in preparedness plans. Methods: Using Israeli experiences as a case study, this article briefly reviews four points of connection between terrorism and its psychological and social legacies: the sociopolitical aspects of terrorism, the unexpected nature of terrorism, normalization of terrorism and public resilience, and social aspects of medical care for terror-related injuries. Results: The Israeli experience suggests preparedness plans should include planning for the sociopsychological effects of terrorism on targeted populations and may, in certain contexts, use Israeli approaches as a model. Conclusions: Experience gained in Israel and elsewhere can set the stage for an appropriate response plan striving not only for preparedness but also resilience. Efforts should be made to advance local capabilities, response plans, and resilience by drawing on the experience of others in coping with the terror threat.

 

 

 

New Article: Hoshen et al, Stimulant Use for ADHD among Children in Israel

Hoshen, Moshe B., Arriel Benis, Katherine M. Keyes, and Helga Zoëga. “Stimulant Use for ADHD and Relative Age in Class among Children in Israel.” Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pds.3962

 

Abstract

Diagnosis of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing. The present study sought to identify characteristics and medication treatment patterns of children with ADHD and compare them by relative age in class, sex, ethnicity, family size, sibling order, and other socioeconomic status, as well as find trends in disparity of pharmacotherapy. This study was based on data from 1 013 149 Clalit Health Services members aged 6–17 years during 2006–2011. The use of stimulant medication is growing among children in Israel. Although the overall use does not exceed the estimated prevalence of ADHD among children, the appropriateness of prescribing to the Israeli pediatric population, especially to the youngest children in class, may be questionable.

 

 

 

New Article: Sansanwal et al, What Mental Health Professionals in Israel Know and Think about Adolescent Problem Gambling

Sansanwal, Rayna M., Jeffrey L. Derevensky, and Belle Gavriel-Fried. “What Mental Health Professionals in Israel Know and Think about Adolescent Problem Gambling.” International Gambling Studies (early view, online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2016.1139159

 

Abstract

Mental health professionals are well versed in addressing multiple adolescent risky behaviours and play a primary role in the identification of and referral process and service provision for young people who engage in such behaviours. Given their ‘person-in-environment’ approach, training in multi-sectoral collaboration, and awareness of social policies, social workers are especially equipped to provide needed mental health services to young people. The aim of the current study was to examine Israeli mental health professionals’ awareness of and attitudes towards adolescent high-risk behaviours, including gambling. Child psychologists, social workers and school counsellors (N = 273) completed an online survey addressing concerns related to high-risk behaviours. Findings revealed that social workers perceived gambling as being among one of the least concerning adolescent mental health issues and reported feeling the least confident in their abilities to provide services to young people with gambling problems. The results suggest the importance of youth gambling addictions being incorporated into social work training curricula.

 

 

 

New Article: Isralowitz et al, Quality of Life among Former Soviet Union and Israeli Origin Methadone Users

Isralowitz, Richard, Alexander Reznik, and Itay Pruginin. “Quality of Life among Former Soviet Union and Israeli Origin Methadone Users.” Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse (early view; online first)
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15332640.2015.1046009
 
Abstract

A common treatment intervention for heroin addiction is methadone maintenance. In recent years a wider perspective has been adapted to understand and evaluate addiction through quality of life. This article examines quality of life conditions of 170 male former Soviet Union and Israeli origin drug users in methadone maintenance and provides an understanding of conditions linked to the World Health Organization Quality of Life project’s best available techniques reference document. Having a partner or spouse and less chronic illness are positive factors affecting quality of life regardless of country of origin. Israeli born drug users reported better quality of life based on their psychological health and environment domain responses; no difference was found for the physical health and social relationship domains of the Israeli and former Soviet Union origin males. Because heroin addiction is a chronic and relapsing illness, one of the goals of methadone maintenance is to address patients’ health status from a broad perspective. Based on clinical observations, the treatment of special populations may be enhanced if their particular needs are considered and met. Quality of life factors are relevant for assessing high risk groups, including those from different ethnic origins, in poor physical and psychological health, their treatment and personal adjustment, and their service personnel training needs.

 

 

New Article: Goren & Neter, Stereotypical Thinking and PTSD Symptoms among Israeli Youth

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).

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2016.1138288

 

Abstract

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.

 

 

 

New Article: Schreiber, Building an Emergency Mental Health System for Israel

Schreiber, Merritt D. “Toward the Way Forward: Building an Emergency Mental Health System for Israel.” Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13584-015-0038-3

 

Abstract

A number of related changes have evolved over the past 25 years: the development of a truly national disaster mental health service in Israel; progress in the science of risk, resilience and evidence base care for those suffering from traumatic stress related disorders; and the development of conceptual models of population level disaster mental health response in the context of emergency management systems such as the Incident Command System.
In a recent IJHPR article, Bodas, et al. report on the dynamic history of disaster mental health response in Israel, which informed by the all too numerous real world events affecting the region. What is most striking is that the system now in place reflects true “lessons learned” in that problems and issues identified in incidents informed deliberative planning, and the current system reflects many iterations of “lessons observed and learned”. There appears to be commitment across sectors of government in Israel that the mental health consequences of disasters and terrorism are important and a priority. This is advanced thinking and sound policy.
As the system in Israel continues to evolve, additional possibilities are offered for further consideration, based on the author’s US-centric experience, to advance emergency response systems in Israel, the Middle East and around the world.

 

 

New Article: Bitan et al, Delusional Themes in Germany and Israel During the Twentieth Century

Bitan, Dana Tzur, Maria Christina Müller, Shlomit Keren, Israel Krieger, and Lars Hornuf. “War Within, War Outside: A Psychoanalytic Account of Delusional Themes in Germany and Israel During the Twentieth Century.” Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 63.3 (2015): NP1-NP7.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0003065115594186

 

Excerpt
Psychoanalysis, through its myriad developments, has embraced the individual intrapsychic world as its main protagonist. Even so, from its bedrock, it has not ignored the contextual fields of culture, society, political forces, and historical events. Freud (1912–1913) saw similarities between the formation of civilization and individual psychic development, while laying the groundwork for later ideas such as the collective unconscious, tying together unconscious memories of historical events, personal trajectories, and the unseen discourse of social groups (Jung 1959). Psychoanalysts like Bion and Segal have drawn various analogies between the dynamic processes of the individual and those of the group (Bion 1946; Segal 1995). In line with these postulates, Bain coined the term socio-analysis (1999) to denote the adaptation of psychoanalytic concepts as underlying processes of social and cultural dynamics.

Within these mutual dynamics, some have pointed to the role of madness in the maintenance of social order. Foucault (1961) suggested that Cartesian dualist thinking, in addition to its use in differentiating and defining, created a hierarchy: privileging one category over the the other for purposes of domination, order, and control. Thus, the rational and “sane” society can maintain its positive characteristics, while binding its irrational, less accepted parts to the insane locked away in asylums. To put it differently, society uses projection and the splitting-off of madness as defense mechanisms aimed at maintaining the civilized order. Thus, the psychotic plays a unique role as the bearer of primitive and ominous elements.

 

 

New Article: Wolmer et al, Preschool Israeli Children Exposed to Rocket Attacks

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).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.22040

 

Abstract

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.

 

 

New Article: Slone and Mayer, Gender Differences in Mental Health Consequences of Exposure to Political Violence

Slone, Michelle, and Yael Mayer. “Gender Differences in Mental Health Consequences of Exposure to Political Violence among Israeli Adolescents.” Children and Youth Services Review 58 (2015): 170-178.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.09.013

 

Abstract

This study examined the role played by gender differences in the relation between political violence exposure and mental health during adolescence. Understanding these differences is particularly pertinent during the period of adolescence characterized as it is by processes of identity formation and gender role consolidation. Participants were 154 high school students recruited from two high schools in central Israel (78 males, 76 females; average age 16.54), who completed the Political Life Events Scale for measurement of political violence exposure, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 for assessment of psychological symptoms and disorders, a risk-taking behavior scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Scale — Interview (PSS-I) for assessment of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Results reflected high levels on many psychological indicators. The dose–response hypothesis was partially confirmed with adolescents’ higher reported political violence exposure related only to higher levels of somatization and greater severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Contrary to the literature, only a few gender differences emerged and these showed mixed patterns. Females showed higher levels of anxiety than males, and males showed higher levels of risk-taking behavior. Females exposed to low political violence exposure showed significantly less substance abuse than males but those with high exposure reported significantly higher levels of substance abuse, equivalent to those of males. Findings show a complex constellation of gender effects on relations between political violence exposure and different psychopathological outcomes. Findings of this study indicate the necessity for more refined examination of gender differences in psychological processes in reaction to living in conditions of protracted conflict and war.

 

 

New Article: Plotkin-Amrami & Brunner, Making Up ‘National Trauma’ in Israel

Plotkin-Amrami, Galia, and José Brunner. “Making Up ‘National Trauma’ in Israel: From Collective Identity to Collective Vulnerability.” Media, Culture & Society (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306312715589846

 

Abstract

We sketch a variety of institutional, discursive, professional, and personal ‘vectors’, dating back to the 1980s, in order to explain how ‘national trauma’ was able to go from a cultural into a professional category in Israeli mental health during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000–2005). Our genealogy follows Ian Hacking’s approach to transient mental illnesses, both illustrating its fertility and expanding its horizon. Thus, we also explore the dynamics that developed in the Israeli mental health community with the advent of ‘national trauma’: while the vast majority of Israeli psychologists and psychiatrists did not adopt the category, they embraced much of its underlying logic, establishing a link between Israeli identity and the mental harm said to be caused by Palestinian terror. Remarkably, the nexus of national identity and collective psychic vulnerability also prompted the cooperation of Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli mental health scholars seeking to explore the psychological effect that the minority status of Israeli Palestinians had on them during the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

 

 

New Article: Lurie and Nakash, Mental Health and Acculturation Patterns Among Asylum Seekers in Israel

Lurie, Ido, and Ora Nakash. “Exposure to Trauma and Forced Migration: Mental Health and Acculturation Patterns Among Asylum Seekers in Israel.” In Trauma and Migration. Cultural Factors in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Traumatised Immigrants (ed. Meryam Schouler-Ocak; New York: Amsterdam; 2015), 139-56.

 
 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2F978-3-319-17335-1_10

 

Abstract
Immigration is a process of loss and change which entails significant sociopsychological stress and possible effects on the mental health of immigrants. Over the last few decades, the State of Israel has become a target for forced migration. Since 2006 specifically, asylum seekers from East Africa (mainly Eritrea and Sudan) have been arriving in Israel.

In the current chapter, we first outline the phenomenon of forced migration to Israel and the living conditions of migrants once they arrive in Israel. We then describe the relationship between forced migration and mental health, both in adults and adolescents, as well as the connection between acculturation and mental health. Following this, we describe studies conducted with forced migrants in Israel, mainly Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. We carried out three studies; within the population of service users at the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)-Israel’s Open Clinic, we documented the exposure of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to traumatic events during their journey to Israel. Our findings indicate that among a sample of adult African asylum seekers who arrived at the Open Clinic, a considerable percentage of men and women reported having witnessed violence and/or having been a victim of violence during migration to Israel.

Next, we examined the relationship between acculturation patterns and mental health symptoms among asylum seekers who arrived at the Open Clinic (N = 118). Assimilated asylum seekers reported higher (or more) depressive symptoms compared to integrated asylum seekers. Acculturation predicted depressive symptoms among adult asylum seekers beyond reports of experiences of traumatic events and the effect of history of detention.

Then, also describe the results of a study examining the role of acculturation, perceived discrimination and self-esteem in predicting mental health symptoms and risk behaviours among 1.5 and second-generation non-Jewish adolescents born to migrant families compared to native-born Jewish Israeli adolescents in Israel. Migrant adolescents across generations reported more severe mental health symptoms compared to native-born Jewish Israelis. However, only the 1.5 generation migrants reported higher engagement in risk behaviours compared to second-generation migrants and native-born Jewish Israelis. Similar to the adult sample, adolescents also showed that acculturation plays an important role in predicting the mental health status of migrant youths; adolescents showing integrated acculturative patterns reported fewer mental health symptoms than those with assimilated acculturation patterns.

The findings regarding the exposure of East African asylum seekers to traumatic events highlight the need to gather information regarding all phases of forced migration, from experiences in the home country through the journey to the host country. Our findings on acculturation draw attention to the paradox of assimilation and the mental health risks it poses for adult asylum seekers and adolescent immigrants wishing to integrate into the new culture at the expense of their original culture. Mental health professionals should be culturally aware of this vulnerability in therapeutic interventions with forced migrants. Policy makers may consider the benefits of the restrictive policies that have characterised many industrial countries in recent years.

 
 
 
 

Conference Program: APHA, Chicago, November 2015

Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Chicago, 2015

Papers related to Israel:

 

Daoud, Nihaya. “Challenges for Maternal and Child Health Research in The Bedouin Indigenous Minority In Israel.” November 2, 2015, 8:50am.

This presentation focuses on the challenges and opportunities of maternal and child health research among Indigenous Arab Bedouin mothers in Israel.

Bedouins are Israeli citizens who have been living in the south for many decades. They are Israel’s most economically deprived minority and have poor health status. Bedouin infants have higher morbidity and mortality rates compared to their counterparts.

We conducted this study in 2007-2008 to better understand maternal experiences of infant care while drawing on social-ecological approaches to raise Bedouin mothers’ voices and inform policy and interventions.

Multiple factors embedded in Bedouins’ political and historical context complicate research, mainly land disputes with Israeli governments, changes in societal socioeconomic structure from monadic to semi-urban, and socio-cultural transitions including family structure and gender relations. Israeli governments do not recognize Bedouins as an indigenous minority, 40% of them live in legally unrecognized villages with houses that are continually threatened with demolition. These villages lack basic infrastructure including water, electricity, primary care clinics and social services. Conducting research among Bedouins requires building trust and recognizing their health and human rights while understanding their complex political, historical, and social contexts. Building on local knowledge is crucial and requires outstanding research methods. Other issues include attaining ethics approval, maintaining confidentiality, and overcoming language barriers as mothers lack basic reading and writing skills. Funding opportunities and scholarly publication requires additional effort and time. Recognizing these challenges might provide an opportunity for more advanced research among Bedouins and other indigenous populations.

 

Shapiro, Ephraim and Irit Elroy. “Mental Health Care Utilization Among the Most Traditionally Religious Jews and Muslims in Israel in an Era of Reform.” November 3, 2015, 2:30pm.

Background: Israel recently implemented mental healthcare system policy reform, with uncertain impact on utilization among subgroups. The most traditionally religious segments of Israeli society, including both Jews and Muslims,  have distinctive attitudes, behaviors and demographics, all of which can impact mental healthcare usage and the reform’s success. Prior research found some underutilization among the most religious Israelis despite universal health insurance ,  for reasons such as stigma,   yet the topic has been understudied.

Research Questions: 1) To what extent do Haredi/ultraorthodox Jews and traditional Arab Muslims in Israel seek and/or receive mental healthcare 2) Do results vary by key subgroups including religion and socioeconomic status?  3)What interventions can potentially be developed to increase use of needed mental health services among religious groups?

Methodology/Results: A random-sample survey of health utilization among all Israelis conducted in 2013 was analyzed. Outcomes included Mental healthcare utilization measures and attitudinal measures related to potential barriers. Religious group was categorized by self-report. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed using health, religious, and socioeconomic factors. Chi-square statistics were produced. Over 2000 Israelis were surveyed including 275 Haredi/ultraorthodox  Jews and 225 traditional Muslims.  Variations were found by some but not all religious and socioeconomic subgroups. In addition, key informant interviews with religious, community and medical leaders were conducted and faith-based intervention opportunities identified

Conclusions:  Culturally-sensitive interventions can potentially be developed to increase appropriate mental health care utilization for religious Israelis. This issue is particularly timely after mental health reform when opportunities to change relevant attitudes and behaviors exist.

 

Shapira, Stav, Limor Aharonson-Daniel,Yaron Bar-Dayan, Deanna Sykes, and Bruria Adini. “Is Earthquake Preparedness a Generic Achievement? Similarities and Differences between Preparedness of Canadian and Israeli Hospital Personnel.” November 3, 2015, 4:30pm.

Background: Healthcare workers (HCW) willingness to report to work (WTR) during a disaster is essential to implementing an efficient response. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this matter may contribute to reduced absenteeism in future disasters. Assessing preparedness and WTR in an earthquake scenario, in different social contexts and preparedness approaches (Canada and Israel) may shed light on the complexity of these issues.

Objectives: 1) To assess knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and WTR of HCW in Canada and Israel concerning earthquakes and 2) To evaluate the relationship between these factors and WTR.

Methods: A validated questionnaire including questions about demographic characteristics, knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and WTR in an earthquake scenario was distributed in two tertiary care hospitals located in risk regions, to a random sample of 131 Israeli and 381 Canadian HCW.

Results: Knowledge, perceptions of efficacy, as well as WTR were generally higher among Israeli HCWs. ‘Concern for family’s well-being’ and ‘professional commitment to care’ were reported by the largest proportion of HCW as factors that might influence WTR. Significant predictors of WTR amongst both Israeli and Canadian HCW were the belief that ‘colleagues will also report to work’ and ‘professional commitment’.

Conclusions: Significant differences were found in levels of knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and WTR in an earthquake scenario between Israeli and Canadian HCW. Social and professional solidarity seems to be cross-cultural factors that mitigate other potential barriers to WTR. This may help formulate new methods of improving hospital personnel preparedness to future events.

 

Shapiro, Ephraim and Rachel Nisanholtz. “Community Nurses and Chronic Disease in Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom: A Comparative Analysis.” November 4, 2015, 11:00am.

Background: The growing worldwide trend of chronic disease harms not only the public’s health but increases costs. Public health and other community nurses can play important roles in its prevention and control. These nurses can play vital roles in advancing national health system objectives. However, despite this there has been inadequate comparative study of community nurses’ role in preventing and controlling chronic disease.

Objectives: 1)What roles do public health and other community nurses play for  chronic disease prevention and control? 2)What trends and related challenges exist for these nurses in terms of chronic disease prevention and control? 3)How do these nurses’ roles, trends and challenges vary across Israel, the U.S., and the U.K and what lessons can be learned?

Methodology:  Key informant interviews and a comprehensive literature review were performed and themes related to the objectives analyzed. An average of 10 interviews was performed among nursing leaders and/or academic experts in each of the three countries.

Key Findings/Conclusions: The role of nurses in non-hospital settings has grown rapidly; further growth is expected to occur, with variations by type of nurse. They have a multiplicity of roles and can reach a wide variety of groups. There are important implications for reducing health disparities as nurses can play important roles in monitoring social determinants. While there is much overlap, important differences exist between community nurses in different settings; countries can learn from each other’s successes and challenges although contextual differences such as cultural, institutional, and policy and differences need to be understood.

New Article: Moran et al, Why Do Mental Health Consumers Who Receive Rehabilitation Services, Are Not Using Them?

Moran, Galia S., Yael Baruch, Faissal Azaiza, and Max Lachman. “Why Do Mental Health Consumers Who Receive Rehabilitation Services, Are Not Using Them? A Qualitative Investigation of Users’ Perspectives in Israel.” Community Mental Health Journal (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-015-9905-1

 

Abstract

A recovery-oriented approach to mental health involves creating person centered services and enhancing engagement in psychiatric rehabilitation. Israel’s Rehabilitation in the Community of Persons with Mental Disabilities Law is a progressive initiative that shifted the locus of psychiatric care to community care supporting individualized rehabilitation and recovery-oriented processes. Yet over a quarter of applicants do not implement their assigned rehabilitation plans and services. This qualitative study investigated reasons and experiences related to lack of utilization from applicants’ perspectives. Fifteen service users were interviewed face to face in semi-structured interviews analyzed using Grounded theory approach. Seven categories emerged: (1) Lack of knowledge and orientation; (2) Negative perceptions about rehabilitation services (3) Lack of active participation/shared decision-making; (4) Not feeling heard by the committee; (5) Lack of congruence between participants’ goals and committee’s final decisions; (6) Lack of escorting professionals’ competencies; and (7) Family members’ influence. The results are interpreted at the structural and human process levels. Suggestions are provided for augmenting systemic procedures and human interactions processes.

New Article: Nakash et al, Primary Mental Health Prevention Themes in Published Research and Academic Programs in Israel

Nakash, Ora, Liat Razon, and Itzhak Levav. “Primary Mental Health Prevention Themes in Published Research and Academic Programs in Israel.” Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2045-4015-4-3

 

Abstract
Background

The World Health Organization Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (CMHAP) 2013–2020 proposes the implementation of primary prevention strategies to reduce the mental health burden of disease. The extent to which Israeli academic programs and published research adhere to the principles spelled out by the CMHAP is unknown.

Objective

To investigate the presence of mental health primary prevention themes in published research and academic programs in Israel.

Methods

We searched for mental health primary prevention themes in: (1) three major journals of psychiatry and social sciences during the years 2001–2012; (2) university graduate programs in psychology, social work and medicine in leading universities for the academic year of 2011–2012; and (3) doctoral and master’s theses approved in psychology and social work departments in five universities between the years 2007–2012.

We used a liberal definition of primary prevention to guide the above identification of themes, including those related to theory, methods or research information of direct or indirect application in practice.

Results

Of the 934 articles published in the three journals, 7.2%, n = 67, addressed primary prevention. Of the 899 courses in the 19 graduate programs 5.2%, n = 47, elective courses addressed primary prevention. Of the 1960 approved doctoral and master’s theses 6.2%, n = 123, addressed primary prevention. Only 11 (4.7%) articles, 5 (0.6%) courses, and 5 (0.3%) doctoral and master’s theses addressed primary prevention directly.

Conclusions

The psychiatric reform currently implemented in Israel and WHO CMHAP call for novel policies and course of action in all levels of prevention, including primary prevention. Yet, the latter is rarely a component of mental health education and research activities. The baseline we drew could serve to evaluate future progress in the field.
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New Article: Stolovy et al, Quality of Life Among Israeli Women Who Practice Channeling Compared to Women with Similar Traumatic History

Stolovy, Tali, Rachel Lev-Wiesel, and Eliezer Witztum. “Dissociation: Adjustment or Distress? Dissociative Phenomena, Absorption and Quality of Life Among Israeli Women Who Practice Channeling Compared to Women with Similar Traumatic History.” Journal of Religion and Health 54.3 (2015): 1040-51.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-014-9885-4

 

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the relationship between traumatic history, dissociative phenomena, absorption and quality of life among a population of channelers, in comparison with a population of non-channelers with similar traumatic history. The study sample included 150 women. The measures included Traumatic Experiences Scale, Dissociative Experience Scale, Absorption Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory and Quality of Life (QOL) Assessment. Channelers presented significantly higher levels of dissociation, absorption and psychological health compared to the other group. Dissociation and absorption were trauma-related only among the comparison group. Hence, dissociation has different qualities among different people, and spiritual practice contributes to QOL.

New Article: Eisikovits et al, The Social Construction of Disclosure: The Case of Child Abuse in Israeli Society

Eisikovits, Zvi, Jonathan Davidov, Laura Sigad, and Rachel Lev-Wiesel. “The Social Construction of Disclosure: The Case of Child Abuse in Israeli Society.” In Mandatory Reporting Laws and the Identification of Severe Child Abuse and Neglect (ed. Ben Mathews and Donald C. Bross; Dordrecht and New York: Springer, 2015), 395-413.

 

URL: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-017-9685-9_19

 

Abstract

Based on 40 in-depth qualitative interviews with professionals, including law-enforcement personnel, educators, and mental health and health-care professionals, this chapter presents a study that describes and analyzes an insider’s view of the ways in which child abuse professionals perceive and understand the disclosure of violence. We found that disclosure is a function of social processes related to the values, ideologies, ways of thinking, and interests of the various social agents involved in the process. Thus, disclosure is not an objective fact-finding process and the subsequent assignment of visibility and proper societal reaction, but rather a social construction.

New Article: Ayalon et al, Informal Mental Health Help-Seeking Attitudes according to Israeli Arab Women

Ayalon, Liat, Khaled Karkabi, Igor Bleichman, Silvia Fleischmann, and Margalit Goldfracht. “Between Modern and Traditional Values: Informal Mental Health Help-Seeking Attitudes according to Israeli Arab Women, Primary Care Patients and Their Providers.” International Journal of Social Psychiatry 61.4 (2015): 386-93.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0020764014549082

 

Abstract

Background: Israeli Arab women under-utilize mental health services.

Objectives: The present study evaluated the use of alternative services for dealing with depression and anxiety among Israeli Arab women and primary care providers.

Material: Four focus groups with primary care patients and two focus groups with primary care providers were conducted. Constant comparisons were employed in order to identify major themes related to informal help-seeking behaviors.

Discussion: Three informal help-seeking behaviors were identified: (a) social support, divided into extended family and neighbors versus nuclear family and close friends; (b) religiosity, divided into inner, direct practices and beliefs versus externally mediated ones; and (c) self-help techniques, such as engagement in activities and distancing oneself from the situation. Both social support and religiosity were viewed with ambivalence by primary care patients and providers.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that the Arab population in Israel might be lacking informal sources of support at times of mental health needs.

New Article: O’Rourke et al, Reminiscence Functions and the Health of Israeli Holocaust Survivors

O’Rourke, Norm, Yaacov G. Bachner, Philippe Cappeliez, Habib Chaudhury, and Sara Carmel. “Reminiscence Functions and the Health of Israeli Holocaust Survivors as Compared to Other Older Israelis and Older Canadians.” Aging & Mental Health 19.4 (2015): 335-46.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2014.938607

 

Abstract

Objectives: Existing research with English-speaking samples indicates that various ways in which older adults recall their past affect both their physical and mental health. Self-positive reminiscence functions (i.e. identity, problem-solving, death preparation) correlate and predict mental health in later life whereas self-negative functions (i.e. bitterness revival, boredom reduction, intimacy maintenance) correlate and predict the physical health of older adults.

Method: For this study, we recruited 295 Israeli Holocaust survivors to ascertain if early life trauma affects these associations between reminiscence and health. In order to distinguish cross-national differences from survivor-specific effects, we also recruited two comparative samples of other older Israelis (not Holocaust survivors; n = 205) and a second comparative sample of 335 older Canadians. Three separate structural equation models were computed to replicate this tripartite reminiscence and health model.

Results: Coefficients for self-negative functions significantly differed between survivors and both Canadians and other older Israelis, and between Canadians and both Israeli samples. However, no differences were found between prosocial and self-positive functions. Moreover, the higher order structure of reminiscence and health appears largely indistinguishable across these three groups.

Conclusion: Early life trauma does not appear to fundamentally affect associations between reminiscence and health. These findings underscore the resilience of Holocaust survivors.