Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teens pay high psychiatric toll when raised in conditions of political conflict

Date:
July 24, 2014
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Israeli youths exposed to protracted conflict suffer far higher levels of anxiety, phobia, fear, depression, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and paranoia than their counterparts in the US. The largest cross-sectional empirical study of its kind, the research assessed youths exposed to terrorism, missile attacks, war, forced residential relocations, and military operations.

The latest flare-up in the Middle East catches children in the midst of their long-anticipated summer break. The wail of sirens replaces the jingle of ice cream trucks, and boys and girls dash to a bomb shelter instead of playing tag at the park. Young people are enduring a summer of violence, devastation, panic, and isolation. What are the long-term effects of these conditions?

Related Articles


A new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress by Prof. Michelle Slone of Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences and Dr. Anat Shoshani of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya finds that Israeli youths exposed to protracted conflict suffer far higher levels of anxiety, phobia, fear, depression, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and paranoia than their counterparts in the U.S. The largest cross-sectional empirical study of its kind, the research assessed youths exposed to terrorism, missile attacks, war, forced residential relocations, and military operations, as well as relative quiet over an unprecedented period of 14 years.

"This was a large and logistically complicated study conducted over a long period under dynamic, violent conditions," said Prof. Slone, Director of TAU's Laboratory for Resilience in Childhood. "Whereas previous studies on conflict environments have focused on the frequency of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Symptoms, our research pointed to varied emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, as well as a broad spectrum of clinical and sub-clinical pathologies."

Girls are at greatest risk

For the purposes of the study, annual samples from the same cities, geographical regions, and schools throughout the country were assessed for Political Life Events (PLE) exposure and for psychiatric symptoms using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Some 8,727 Jewish Israeli adolescents aged 12-17, evenly divided by gender, were assessed in eight exposure periods: pre-Intifada (1998-2000); Intifada peak (2001-2003); Intifada recession (2004); missile attacks on southern Israel and the 2006 Lebanon War (2005-2006); peak missile attacks (2006-2007); Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009); and the 9/11 period of global terrorism (2010-2011).

The research showed that, over this 14 year period, Israeli adolescents suffered from severe psychiatric symptoms and disorders. Adolescent girls reported even higher levels of psychiatric pathologies than adolescent boys, and the differential by gender increased according to direct exposure to conflict. This finding coincides with consistent findings of higher levels of pathology among girls than boys in wars and armed conflict.

"Growing up in South Africa under the Apartheid regime made me particularly sensitive to the effects of political conflict and armed conflict on children," said Prof. Slone. "Our study suggests that adolescents exposed to high levels of protracted political violence form a high-risk group for specific and non-specific pathologies."

Schools can step in

According to the researchers, insecure and conflict-ridden social environments disrupt the critical tasks normally completed during adolescence, including the establishment of personal identity and the search for both self-autonomy and a role in society. In light of her findings, Prof. Slone believes Israel's public health and education systems should address the needs of the nation's at-risk adolescent population.

"While there is no 'quick fix' for the significant psychological distress that becomes part of young people's lives in conditions of chronic violence and insecurity, a cost-effective, universal, and controlled therapeutic strategy must be implemented in schools," said Prof. Slone. "The educational system, which touches all children and adolescents across all demographic divides, stands in a unique position to institute preventive interventions that strengthen children's resilience and ability to cope with the violent environment in which they live."

Prof. Slone is currently examining the efficacy of school-based, teacher-delivered intervention programs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michelle Slone, Anat Shoshani. Psychiatric Effects of Protracted Conflict and Political Life Events Exposure among Adolescents in Israel: 1998-2011. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2014; 27 (3): 353 DOI: 10.1002/jts.21918

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Teens pay high psychiatric toll when raised in conditions of political conflict." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724112558.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2014, July 24). Teens pay high psychiatric toll when raised in conditions of political conflict. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724112558.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Teens pay high psychiatric toll when raised in conditions of political conflict." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724112558.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins