Status Symmetry Effect: The Association of Exposure and PTS in Israel-Palestine and Northern Ireland

Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, Dana R. Vashdi, Robert D. Lowe, Orla Muldoon, Stevan E. Hobfoll, Daphna Canetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A multi-national sample was used to investigate mechanisms that were hypothesized to moderate the relationship between exposure to political violence and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). We hypothesized that a) the phase of the conflict and b) the status asymmetry of the conflicting parties would moderate the relationship between exposure and PTS symptoms. We used original data from four groups: Israelis and Palestinians (n = 2,572), and Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland (n = 343). Looking at these two conflicts, we found that the positive relationship between exposure to violence and posttraumatic stress symptoms ceases to exist in a post-conflict setting (F(1, 2053) = 4.95, p < .05, η2 = 0.002). Interestingly, we found that PTS symptoms were highest among minority group members in an ongoing conflict irrespective of exposure to political violence (F(1, 2053) = 120.74, p < .001,η2 = 0.06). We provide explanations for these findings and discuss their psychological implications for victimized groups and the wider geopolitics of intergroup conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-805
Number of pages18
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health [R01 MH073687]; Israel Science Foundation [487/08]; United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation [2009460]; Data collection in Northern Ireland was funded by a grant from the EU Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis.


  • Israel
  • Northern Ireland
  • Palestine
  • exposure to political violence
  • posttraumatic stress symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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