Culture as a Double-Edged Sword: The Posttraumatic Experience of Indigenous Ethnic Minority Veterans

Shai Shorer, Hadass Goldblatt, Yael Caspi, Faisal Azaiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The applicability of Western concepts regarding the treatment of trauma in soldiers from indigenous ethnic minority backgrounds has scarcely been researched. This study explored the subjective meaning of living with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among indigenous Bedouin veterans of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who are of Arab ethnicity and Muslim faith. In-depth, semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with 10 Bedouin veterans suffering from PTSD and three Bedouin mental health clinicians working with this population. Two themes emerged: “I wanted to be like everyone else,” referring to participants’ experiences during their military service, and “Fluctuating between belonging and abandonment,” referring to veterans’ experiences of living with mental health problems in a traditional minority community. These findings highlight the importance of conducting a comprehensive inquiry into the complex cultural and social backgrounds of indigenous minority veterans suffering from PTSD, and the interplay between the conflicted identities and multiple “realities” they experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-777
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by a research scholarship from the Center of Training and Research of Resilience and Coping With Trauma, Sapir College, Israel.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • Bedouins
  • Israel
  • cross-cultural
  • minorities
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • qualitative
  • qualitative research
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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