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.
Hirsch, Tal Litvak, Orna Braun-Lewensohn, and Alon Lazar. “Does Home Attachment Contribute to Strengthen Sense of Coherence in Times of War? Perspectives of Jewish Israeli Mothers.” Women & Health 55.4 (2015): 467-83.
The perceptions of home, the significance attached to the home, and the reasons for the decision to continue living at home despite past and potentially future threats were investigated among Jewish Israeli mothers whose homes were exposed to long-term rocket attacks. Findings showed that the mothers expressed a firm attachment to their homes and to their physical and social surroundings and indicated that home attachment, in terms of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors connected to home, contributed to the strengthening of their sense of coherence due to the comprehension, management, and the meaning that they accorded the situation. These components of sense of coherence served as assets and coping resources that helped the women handle their stressful situations.
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.