A longitudinal study of changes in psychological responses to continuous terrorism

Marc Gelkopf, Zahava Solomon, Avraham Bleich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The impact of ongoing terror over time has received little attention. This study assesses longitudinally prevalence and predictors of postraumatic stress symptoms' trajectories, namely resistance, resilience, late-onset and chronicity in the course of intensive and ongoing terror. Method: Two surveys were performed at a two-year interval among 153 Jewish Israeli adults. Results: Results show probable PTSD prevalence, number of traumatic stress related symptoms (TSRS), and rate of severe postraumatic symptomatology (PTSS) to increase over time (from 18.2% to 31.2%). With this, many (66.7% of those with PTSD and 39.3% of those with PTSS at wave 1) recovered. Late-onset of severe PTSS (19.6% of the sample) was predicted by income reduction, a major lifetime traumatic event, sense of threat, dissociation, coping via disengagement and low mood. Chronicity was predicted by sense of threat, pessimism, dissociation and disengagement. Conclusions: Continuous exposure to terror has a strong negative impact on mental health. Secondly, even within a chronic situation of terror, a large proportion of individuals with elevated levels of postraumatic symptomatology recover over time; third, prolonged exposure to terror may also exacerbate symptomatology, but not per-se trigger new PTSD cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-109
Number of pages10
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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