Youth in Crisis: The Well-Being of Middle Eastern Youth and Adolescents During War and Peace

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Abstract

This study reports data of psychological well-being and self-esteem of Gaza Palestinian, Israeli Bedouin Arab, and Israeli Jewish adolescents during the time shortly before and after the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Autonomy Agreement. The study is a partial follow-up to previous research examining the impact of violence, warlike conditions, and extreme social change on the mental health adjustment of adolescents of this region. Results of the Derogatis Symptom Checklist, revised and Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory showed the following: (a) psychopathology was significantly higher among Gaza youth, while Israeli Jewish and Bedouin youth showed lower levels; (b) youth from Gaza had the lowest levels of self-esteem, while there were no differences between Israeli Jewish and Bedouin youth; and (c) despite the long interval that had elapsed between the first (amid the Intifada) and second administrations (subsequent to the Oslo accords) of the measures, and the changing conditions, there was minimal evidence of change in levels of distress.

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