Coping With Terrorism: Coping Types and Effectiveness

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Abstract

Ongoing terrorist attacks in Israel provide a unique opportunity to examine the employed coping styles. This study examines various coping styles and their efficiency in dealing with terrorism. The sample consisted of 400 Israeli adults. Four coping styles were derived by combining 2 axes scores: high–low problem coping and high–low emotion coping, using the median as the cutoff point. Stress symptoms were measured as indicators of the effectiveness of each coping style. A typology of 4 coping styles was found. Two coping types employed a single and unidimensional coping strategy: problem-targeted coping and emotion-targeted coping. Two additional multidimensional coping types combined various coping styles: integrated coping (IC) and adaptive coping (AC). We found that AC, composed of the least coping strategies, was the most effective, whereas IC, composed of the most coping strategies, was the least effective. Another finding was the gender differences in the use of coping types. Whereas the most prevalent type among men was the AC type, the most prevalent type among women was the IC type. In addition, the interaction between exposure, coping styles, and stress symptoms are discussed. Ongoing terrorism in Israel requires the use of several coping styles. The combining of coping styles indicates that coping with terrorism is a dynamic and interactive process.

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