This article examines the school experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students in the United States and Israel. Through comparison of the sociocultural and edu-cational contexts, the authors assess whether school experience of LGBT students differs or operates similarly across countries. The authors use data from the National School Climate Survey conducted in 2007 in the United States and the Israeli School Climate Survey conducted in 2008 in Israel. In comparison with their Israeli counterparts, LGBT students in the United States were more likely to experience assault and harassment in schools but were more likely to have access to LGBT supportive resources in their schools. Results from multi-variate analysis show that negative school climate affect absent-eeism and school belonging similarly for both countries.
Erhard, Rachel L., and Eyal Ben-Ami. “The Schooling Experience of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Israel: Falling Below and Rising Above as a Matter of Social Ecology.” Journal of Homosexuality (early view; online first).
Research on the schooling experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth in Israel and in other western countries has been largely risk focused, whereas extrinsic and intrinsic protective factors, which enable LGB adolescent students to cope with school homophobic bullying, are often overlooked. To address this shortcoming, the researchers conducted a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews with twenty LGB-identified secondary school students. The findings and implications emphasized the key role of adequate ecological protective factors for LGB youth in enhancing effective coping mechanisms in response to school homophobic bullying.
Gross-Manos, D., and A. Ben-Arieh. “How Subjective Well-Being Is Associated With Material Deprivation and Social Exclusion in Israeli 12-Year-Olds.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (early view; online first).
The literature examining the relations between economic situation and happiness has focused almost exclusively on a household’s income as a proxy for economic situation and, accordingly, also focused chiefly on the adult population, excluding children and adolescents. To fill this gap, this study examines the relation between economic deprivation and happiness by using 2 alternative proxies: material deprivation and social exclusion. The study tests the relation of these measures to the most common measure for happiness-subjective well-being (SWB)-in a sample of Israeli 12-year-olds (N = 1,081). The study also examines the effects of culture and life circumstances on these complex relations. Findings show that both material deprivation and social exclusion are negatively associated with children’s SWB. Social exclusion explained a much larger percentage of children’s SWB, adding up to 20%. Furthermore, children who were identified as materially deprived and socially excluded were found to be at much greater risk for unhappiness. Material deprivation was found to be significantly more important to the SWB of males compared with females, and for Jews compared with Arabs. Finally, some implications for social policy and regarding the relation of economic situation and happiness are discussed.
This study compares facets of self-concept in gifted and non-identified Israeli adolescent students. The self-concept mean score profile of gifted vs. non-selected Israeli students was significantly different, with gifted students reporting higher mean levels of academic self-concept, but lower mean levels of social, personal, and physical self-concepts when compared with their non-identified counterparts. Overall, gifted students showed different patterns of self-concept than their peers. The data are discussed in view of theory and past research in the gifted literature.
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).
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.
Gavriel-Fried, Belle, Tammie Ronen, Qutaiba Agbaria, Hod Orkibi, and Liat Hamama. “Multiple Facets of Self-Control in Arab Adolescents. Parallel Pathways to Greater Happiness and Less Physical Aggression”. Youth & Society (early view; online first).
Adolescence is a period of dramatic change that necessitates using skills and strengths to reduce physical aggression and increase happiness. This study examined the multiple facets of self-control skills in achieving both goals simultaneously, in a sample of 248 Arab adolescents in Israel. We conceptualized and tested a new multi-mediator model that posited two parallel paths. Structural equation modeling with bootstrap analysis supported the hypothesized model where self-control linked with subjective happiness directly, and indirectly through positive emotions and social support. In addition, self-control linked directly to physical aggression, and indirectly through hostility and anger. The findings provide new theoretical conceptualizations for further research and suggest possible mechanisms for prevention and intervention programs.
The negative impact of early marriage on girls’ psychosocial well-being is well documented in the literature, but little is known about the girls’ motivations and experiences within marriage. A phenomenological case study approach, combining artwork and semi-structured interviews, was used to investigate the motivations and experiences of early marriage among 10 engaged and married young Muslim women who married young in Israel. The findings regarding the engaged women point to their decision to use marriage as a way to fulfill their need for freedom, their wish to experience love in a culturally respectable frame, and to escape from poverty and from difficult family. Conversely, the married women’s narratives point to the heavy price and limited benefits of early marriage, in creating intense new problems and not providing relief from former problems. The regret over having not studied, intense loneliness, lack of money, and the search for a more respect-based marriage are predominant themes. The financial and social motivations for marriage found among the women studied suggest that in their decision to marry young, they were not passive victims of love or society but were rather taking an active pragmatic decision within the very limited options open to them.
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.
Moran, Mika, R. Goldblatt, P. Plaut, R. Endevelt, and O. Baron-Epel. “The Socioeconomic and Spatial Dimensions of Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: The Case of Arab and Jewish Towns in Israel.” Journal of Environment and Health Sciences (early view; online first).
Childhood and adolescent overweight/obesity is a major burden on public health worldwide. A growing body of empirical evidence highlights the impact of community characteristics of childhood obesity. This study explored socioeconomic and spatial variations of adolescent overweight/obesity in Israel by using an ecological approach. Towns’ socioeconomic and spatial characteristics were found associated with adolescent overweight/obesity in opposite directions in Jewish and Arab towns. Adolescent overweight/obesity was found to be more prevalent in Jewish towns characterized by lower socioeconomic rank (SER) and higher peripherality levels and in Arab towns characterized by higher SER and lower peripheraliy levels. Additionally, inequalities were found to be positively related to adolescent overweight/obesity in Jewish towns. After adjusting for SER, the associations between peripherality and adolescent overweight/obesity were attuned in Jewish towns, but not in Arab towns. These findings correspond with the literature, as the results obtained for the Jewish and Arab towns are consistent with studies conducted in developed and in developing countries, respectively. Therefore, the findings highlight the importance of macro level factors enhancing obesity, and suggest that national policy may benefit from town-level interventions addressing adolescent overweight/ obesity. Several explanations to the study’s findings are discussed, involving social, environmental and individual factors.
תימור, אורי, סוזי בן ברוך, ואתי אלישע, עורכים. נוער בבלגן – קטינים עוברי חוק בישראל. דרכי מניעה, אכיפה ושיקום. ירושלים: מאגנס, 2015.
This book is the first book of its kind in Israel. It presents a comprehensive picture of youth struggling with normative functions, including juvenile delinquents in Israel, and focuses on deviant behaviors of these adolescents, their causes and those dealing them.
The articles on welfare agencies address activities aimed at prevention of school dropouts; guidance provided by the Public Defender’s Office for adolescents facing charges; punitive policy in juvenile courts; Treatment of Juvenile Probation Service youth convicted in court; the treatment of Youth Rehabilitation Services; Special treatment in closed institutions for juvenile offenders; and the treatment of adolescents in the juvenile prison “Ofek.”
The articles explaining deviant behaviors address the development of delinquency among adolescents from difficult social and family backgrounds, its stages and its causes; the growing use of alcohol and drugs among adolescents and its damages; and High School violence as perceived by the students. In addition, a number of articles were dedicated to these supplementary topics: procedures of restorative justice as alternative proceedings to criminal trials; connections between terrorist attacks and juvenile delinquents; school shootings in the United States as an extreme example of adolescent crime.
Tarablus, Tamar, Tali Heiman, and Dorit Olenik-Shemesh. “Cyber Bullying Among Teenagers in Israel: An Examination of Cyber Bullying, Traditional Bullying, and Socioemotional Functioning.” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 24.6 (2015): 707-20.
In this study, the relationships between cyber bullying and involvement in traditional bullying, with reference to social support and gender differences, was examined. Social support plays an important role in empowering victims of cyber bullying and has a significant influence on children and teenagers’ well-being. A sample made up of 458 Israeli junior high students (242 female, 216 male) in the age range of 11 to 13 completed 4 questionnaires. Results indicated that there is an overlap between involvement in cyber bullying and involvement in traditional bullying. The findings indicate that girls were more likely to be cyber victims than boys and that boys were more likely to be cyber bullies than girls. Examination of the relationships between gender and social support variables such as friends, family, and others, shows that girls who were cyber victims reported having more support in all 3 types than cyber bullied boys. These findings can serve as a basis for prevention and intervention programs to cope with cyber bullying.
In this paper, the author used a cross-sectional design to assess the association between the tendency toward school violence, on the one hand, and self-control, social support, and sex, on the other, among 148 Arab-Israeli adolescents in schools in northern Israel. Standard questionnaires on violence, self-control, and social support were administered. In line with expectations, self-reported violence was significantly associated with males, as well as low scores on self-control and social support.
This study examined gender differences in autonomy and relatedness in adolescent-mother interactions, to evaluate two competing notions. The first, based on social role theory, suggested that girls and their mothers would show lower autonomy and higher relatedness than boys and their mothers. The second, stemming from the psychodynamic perspective, suggested that girls would show higher autonomy than boys, and that girls and their mothers would show lower relatedness than boys and their mothers. Participants were 122 Jewish Israeli mothers and their 16.5 years old adolescents (58.19 % girls) from middle class families residing in northern and central cities in Israel. Dyads were observed during a family disagreement (i.e., a high-conflict condition) and while planning a vacation (i.e., a low-conflict condition). Autonomy and relatedness of each participant in each task were coded using the Individuality and Connectedness Q-sort (Bengston & Grotevant 1999). Our findings indicated that girls displayed higher autonomy than boys across the two conflict conditions. In addition, girls and their mothers showed lower relatedness than boys and their mothers, but only under the high-conflict condition. These results are in line with the notions offered by the psychodynamic perspective. They reveal the unique challenges which Jewish Israeli girls and their mothers may face with respect to autonomy and relatedness, and highlight the importance of assessing autonomy and relatedness under varied conflict conditions.
Moor, Irene, Matthias Richter, Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer, Veronika Ottová-Jordan, Frank J. Elgar, Timo-Kolja Pförtner. “Trends in Social Inequalities in Adolescent Health Complaints from 1994 to 2010 in Europe, North America and Israel: The HBSC Study.” European Journal of Public Health (early view online first).
Abstract Background: Studies have shown constant or increasing health inequalities in adulthood in the last decades, but less is known about trends in health inequalities among adolescents. The aim is to analyse changes in socioeconomic differences in subjective health complaints from 1994 to 2010 among 11- to 15-year-olds in Europe, North America and Israel. Methods: Data were obtained from the international ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children’ (HBSC) survey. Analyses were based on the HBSC surveys conducted in 1994 (19 countries), 1998 (25 countries), 2002 (32 countries), 2006 (37 countries) and 2010 (36 countries) covering a time period of up to 16 years. Log binomial regression models were used to assess inequalities in multiple health complaints. Socioeconomic position was measured using perceived family wealth. Results: Inequalities in multiple health complaints emerged in almost all countries, in particular since 2002 (RR 1.1–1.7). Trend analyses showed stable (29 countries), increased (5 countries), decreased (one country) and no social inequalities (2 countries) in adolescent health complaints. Conclusion: In almost all countries, social inequalities in health complaints remained constant over a period of up to 16 years. Our findings suggest a need to intensify efforts in social and health policy to tackle existing inequalities.
Shilo, Guy, Nadav Antebi, and Zohar Mor. “Individual and Community Resilience Factors Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Questioning Youth and Adults in Israel.” American Journal of Community Psychology 55.1-2 (2015): 215-27.
Drawing on resilience theories, this study examined the individual and community factors of Israeli lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, and questioning (LGBQs) that contribute to positive mental health and the degree to which individual and community protective factors mitigate the adverse effect of risk factors for poor mental health. Differences in resilience factors between LGBQ youth and adults were explored. Data were collected on 890 LGBQ youth and adults. Findings emphasize the role of community-level resilience factors in the lives of LGBQs, and that these support systems differ slightly between the two age groups. Among youth, family support was both a strong predictor for well-being and a protective factor for mental distress. Although family support was found as a resilience factor among adults as well, other community-level factors (friends’ support, LGBT connectedness and having steady partner) were found as protective factors for poorer mental health. These findings suggest for efforts on fostering familial support for LGBQ youth and a multi-level system that offers support at the familial, peer, relationship and community levels for both LGBQ youth and adults.
Pförtner, Timo-Kolja, Irene Moor, Katharina Rathmann, Anne Hublet, Michal Molcho, Anton E. Kunst, and Matthias Richter. “The Association between Family Affluence and Smoking among 15-year-old Adolescents in 33 European Countries, Israel and Canada: The Role of National Wealth.” Addiction 110.1 (2015): 162-73.
To examine the role of national wealth in the association between family affluence and adolescent weekly smoking, early smoking behaviour and weekly smoking among former experimenters.
Design and Participants
Data were used from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study conducted in 2005/2006 in 35 countries from Europe and North America that comprises 60 490 students aged 15 years. Multi-level logistic regression was conducted using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods (MCMC) to explore whether associations between family affluence and smoking outcomes were dependent upon national wealth.
Family Affluence Scale (FAS) as an indicator for the socio-economic position of students. Current weekly smoking behaviour is defined as at least weekly smoking (dichotomous). Early smoking behaviour is measured by smoking more than a first puff before age 13 years (dichotomous). Weekly smoking among former experimenters is restricted to those who had tried a first puff in the past.
The logistic multi-level models indicated an association of family affluence with current weekly smoking [odds ratio (OR) = 1.088; 95% credible interval (CrI) = 1.055–1.121, P < 0.001], early smoking behaviour (OR = 1.066; CrI = 1.028–1.104, P < 0.001) and smoking among former experimenters (OR = 1.100; CrI = 1.071–1.130; P < 0.001). Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was associated positively and significantly with the relationship between family affluence and current weekly smoking (OR = 1.005; CrI = 1.003–1.007; P < 0.001), early smoking behaviour (OR = 1.003; CrI = 1.000–1.005; P = 0.012) and smoking among former experimenters (OR = 1.004; CrI = 1.002–1.006; P < 0.001). The association of family affluence and smoking outcomes was significantly stronger for girls.
The difference in smoking prevalence between rich and poor is greater in more affluent countries.
Walsh, Sophie D., Haya Fogel-Grinvald, and Sabrina Shneider. “Discrimination and Ethnic Identity as Predictors of Substance Use and Delinquency Among Immigrant Adolescents From the FSU and Ethiopia in Israel.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (early view; online first).
The current study explores perceived discrimination and ethnic identity as predictors of delinquency and substance use among adolescent immigrants in Israel. Theoretically, the study draws from strain theory, immigration-related theories of ethnic identity formation in adolescence, bi-dimensional theories of acculturation, and the rejection-identification model. The study involved 250 adolescents, 140 from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and 110 from Ethiopia, aged 15 to 18 years (M = 16.7 years). Adolescents were assessed on substance use (cigarettes, marijuana, binge drinking, drunkenness), delinquent behavior, parental relationships (support, limit setting), perceived discrimination, host identity (Jewish Israeli), and ethnic identity (Russian/Ethiopian). Results from structural equation modeling showed that delinquency was predicted directly by greater discrimination, a weaker ethnic (Russian/Ethiopian) identity, and greater substance (alcohol and cigarette) use. Higher levels of parental limit setting and lower levels of parental support predicted higher levels of substance use, but only predicted delinquency indirectly through their impact on substance use. Findings support the hypotheses that perceived discrimination and a weaker ethnic identity predict involvement in delinquency and partially support a hypothesis that higher levels of a positive host identity are related to lower levels of substance use and delinquency among immigrant adolescents. A perceived lack of equal opportunities may lead to stress, anger, and frustration toward society leading to delinquent behavior, whereas difficulties in consolidating a positive cultural identity may lead the young adolescent to fill a void through substance use.
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.