Acute Stress Symptoms, Intolerance of Uncertainty and Coping Strategies in Reaction to the October 7 War

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Background: On 7 October 2023, hundreds of armed Hamas fighters breached the security border fence and entered Israel from the Gaza Strip. More than 1400 Israeli citizens were murdered, and 239 individuals were kidnapped. Many Israeli citizens experienced these occurrences as psychologically traumatic events that caused stress and uncertainty. Objectives: The present study aimed to examine the relationship between exposure to war (in more distant circles), intolerance of uncertainty (IU) and disengaged coping on acute stress symptoms (ASS). First, we examined whether exposure to war and IU were directly associated with ASS. Second, we tested the mediating role of disengaged coping in the relationship among war exposure, IU and ASS. Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 393 Israeli citizens. Participants answered questionnaires on exposure to war, IU, coping strategies and ASS. Results: The study results indicate that higher exposure and higher levels of IU were directly associated with more intensive ASS, and this association was partially mediated by higher use of disengaged coping strategies. Conclusions: Individuals during wartime are at risk of experiencing high levels of ASS and developing ASD. However, degree of exposure to war alone was not associated with ASS, but it was related to personal resources and coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3021
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • acute stress symptoms
  • coping strategies
  • intolerance of uncertainty
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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