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.
Israel-Cohen, Yael, Florina Uzefovsky, Gabriela Kashy-Rosenbaum, and Oren Kaplan. “Gratitude and PTSD Symptoms among Israeli Youth Exposed to Missile Attacks: Examining the Mediation of Positive and Negative Affect and Life Satisfaction.” Journal of Positive Psychology 10.2 (2015): 99-106.
Based on a sample of Israeli adolescents living in a city which was under missile attack 2½ months prior to this study, we examined the possible affective and cognitive mechanisms through which gratitude may serve as a protective factor against PTSD symptoms. Specifically, we focused on how this process might be mediated by positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction. These are widely understood as the emotional and cognitive components of subjective well-being and have each been significantly associated with gratitude and with pathology in the literature. Using pathway analysis, our findings revealed that life satisfaction and negative affect, but not positive affect, mediated the relationship between gratitude and PTSD symptoms. Our study suggests that gratitude may serve as a protective factor primarily through cognitive appraisal processes tied to greater appreciation of life in a way that distinguishes it from other positive emotions.
Gil, Sharon, Michael Weinberg, Keren Or-Chen, and Hila Harel. “Risk Factors for DSM 5 PTSD Symptoms in Israeli Civilians during the Gaza War.” Brain and Behavior 5.4 (2015).
In light of the current modifications presented in the diagnostic criteria of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the DSM 5, this study aimed at revalidating well-known PTSD risk factors, including gender, peritraumatic dissociation, social support, level of threat, and trait tendency for forgiveness.
Five hundred and one Israeli civilians were assessed during real-time exposure to missile and rocket fire at the eruption of the Gaza war. Assessments took place approximately one to 2 weeks after the beginning of this military operation, relying on web administration of the study, which allowed simultaneous data collection from respondents in the three regions in Israel that were under attack.
A structural equation model design revealed that higher levels of forgiveness toward situations were associated with fewer PTSD symptoms, whereas peritraumatic dissociation and high levels of objective and subjective threat were positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Additionally, females were at higher risk for PTSD symptoms than males.
The findings of this study provide further evidence for the importance of directing preventive attention to those vulnerable to the development of elevated levels of PTSD symptoms. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.