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עמוד בית
Tue, 18.06.24

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IMAJ | volume

Journal 12, December 2008
pages: 869-872

The Psychological Toll of the Intifada: Symptoms of Distress and Coping in Israeli Soldiers

    Summary

    Background: Detrimental effects of military service among the civilian Palestinian population have been reported in soldiers.

    Objectives: To examine the frequency and type of stressors encountered by soldiers in close contact with the CPP and its relationship with post-traumatic symptomatology. We also investigated coping methods and the preferred types of professional help.

    Methods: Using random digit dialing methodology we conducted a phone survey of veteran soldiers, men (n=167) and women (n=59) in close contact with the CPP; the comparison group comprised male veteran soldiers with no CPP exposure (n=74). We used focus groups to develop context-related measures to assess exposure to violent incidents, coping modes and preferred modes of professional assistance. We included measures of traumatic exposure, post-traumatic stress symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Results: Soldiers who served among the CPP had greater exposure to traumatic events and to civilian-related violent incidents (more than half as victims, and a third as perpetrators); and 17.4% perceived their behavior as degrading civilians. Primary traumatic exposure, perceived health problems and avoidance coping were found to be risk factors for PTS[1] and PTSD[2]. Involvement in incidents that may have degraded Palestinian civilians predicted PTS.

    Conclusions: Friction with the CPP in itself does not constitute a risk factor for psychopathology among soldiers. However, contact with this population entails more exposure to traumatic events, which may cause PTS and PTSD. Furthermore, a relative minority of soldiers may be involved in situations that may degrade civilians, which is a risk factor for PTS. To avoid violent and sometimes degrading behaviors, appropriate psycho-educational and behavioral preparation should be provided.|

     


    [1] PTS = post-traumatic stress symptoms
    [2] PTSD = post-traumatic stress disorder

     

     

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