Helping direct and indirect victims of national terror: Experiences of israeli social workers

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In this study we explored the subjective experience and the meaning attached to it by Israeli social workers who provide help to direct and indirect victims of national terror attacks. A qualitative methodology, based on grounded theory tradition, was used to conduct and analyze interviews with 29 social workers from three types of agencies (municipal social services, general hospitals, and the National Insurance Institute) from various parts of the country. Based on the data, three main themes were constructed: (a) professional and personal functioning during intervention, (b) the immediate and long-term impact of intervening with terror attacks, and (c) the meaning attached to the social worker's role in intervening with victims. Overall, the findings show that the social workers experienced symptoms similar to those of secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD) for a few days only, but in the long-term, they perceived their experience of helping victims of terror attacks as leading to personal and professional growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-54
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Crisis management
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Quality of care
  • Social work
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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