Reciprocal relationships between resource loss and psychological distress following exposure to political violence: An empirical investigation of COR theory's loss spirals

Nicole M. Heath, Brian J. Hall, Eric U. Russ, Daphna Canetti, Stevan E. Hobfoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We conducted a four-wave prospective study of Palestinian adults living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, interviewed between 2007 and 2009 at 6-month interval to explore transactional relationships between resource loss (i.e., intra and interpersonal resource loss) and psychological distress (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms). Initially, 1196 Palestinians completed the first wave interview and 752 of these participants completed all four interviews. A cross-lagged panel design was constructed to model the effects of trauma exposure on both resource loss and psychological distress and the subsequent reciprocal effects of resource loss and psychological distress across four time waves. Specifically, resource loss was modeled to predict distress, which in turn was expected to predict further resource loss. Structural equation modeling was used to test this design. We found that psychological distress significantly predicts resource loss across shorter, 6-month time waves, but that resource loss predicts distress across longer, 12-month intervals. These findings support the Conservation of Resources theory's corollary of loss spirals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-695
Number of pages17
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (RO1MH073687) to the last author.

Keywords

  • PTSD
  • cross-lagged panel analysis
  • depression
  • loss spirals
  • political violence
  • resource loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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