Exposure to Political Violence, Psychological Distress, Resource Loss, and Benefit Finding as Predictors of Domestic Violence Among Palestinians

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Abstract

Intrafamilial violence is starkly understudied in the context of mass casualty and political violence. We conducted a three-wave prospective study of 383 female and 363 male Palestinian adults living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, interviewed beginning in September 2007, and again at 12- and 18-month intervals, regarding how political violence and its consequences (psychosocial resource loss, benefit finding, and psychological distress) influence domestic violence. Using multigroup structural equation modeling, we found that greater political violence, increased psychosocial resource loss, lower benefit finding, older age, and lower education significantly predicted psychological distress which, in turn, was related to greater domestic violence among male respondents. For women, however, only increased psychosocial resource loss predicted greater distress, which, in turn, predicted greater domestic conflict. Despite these differences, the model for men was not significantly different than the model for women. These results provide useful information regarding how broader political violence experienced by a community can indirectly impact intrafamilial violence.

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