Resilience and political violence: A cross-cultural study of moderating effects among jewish- and arab-israeli youth

Iris Lavi, Michelle Slone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children in countries involved in violent national conflicts experience difficult and, at times, extreme events such as spending long hours in shelters, witnessing terror attacks, or having a family member absent or injured while participating in battle. This study explores the moderating effect of resilience factors, self-esteem, and self-control, on relations between political violence and children's difficulties. Children and mothers from 104 Jewish- and 108 Arab-Israeli families complete questionnaires assessing political violence exposure, self-esteem, self-control, and the child's social, psychological, and behavioral difficulties. Findings show that Israeli children exhibited heightened levels of psychological difficulties with high impact of political violence, a relationship that is partially moderated by self-control. In addition, significant ethnic group differences are found. First, political life events (PLE) are positively related to the child's social, psychological, and behavioral difficulties in the Arab group. Second, the relationship between political life events and the child's difficulties is moderated by self-control in the Jewish group and by self-esteem in the Arab group. Consequences of these results to understanding the impact of political violence and the role of individual resilience during conflict are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-872
Number of pages28
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by a grant from The Israel Education Fund.


  • Israel
  • children
  • ethnic
  • political violence
  • resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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