Traumatic in Israeli Youth Sample: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Psychological Impact of Exposure to Traumatic Experiences

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Abstract

The on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a cause of exposure to traumatic events for many people in the affected area. The present study investigated the prevalence and psychological impact of traumatic events among adolescents living in the Tel Aviv-area. 494 9th and 10th grade students (M = 15.6 years) reported exposure to 20 potentially traumatizing events and distress symptoms. The findings suggest that the prevalence of traumatic events was considerable among Israeli youth. Eighty-five percent of the students had been exposed to at least one traumatic event, and the two most common events recorded were almost being injured or killed (exposed students: 45%) and war (exposed students: 44%). Exposure to multiple traumatic events, the presence of recent exposure, and a number of specific events, in particular humiliation or persecution, attempted suicide, and childhood neglect, were associated with an increase in symptomatology. However, exposure to war, terrorist attacks, and not knowing if family members/friends were alive, did not increase the level of symptomatology. The apparently limited psychological impact of exposure to war-like events is discussed.

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