Twenty-two male volunteers in Jerusalem were subjected to a battery of psychological tests at the height of the Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Israeli cities during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and again after the cessation of hostilities. Venous blood samples were taken at each time point. The separated mononuclear cells and plasma were cryopreserved, and a spectrum of immunological and neuroendocrine assays were performed on the preserved samples. Psychological testing indicated levels of anxiety were higher during the war than they were after the war ended, and both anxiety and anger during the hostilities were significantly elevated in comparison with prewar data. During the war, specific war-related pressures were greater than everyday pressures, and problem-focused coping was more evident than emotion-focused coping. Natural-killer cell activity and cell-mediated lympholysis were significantly elevated during the war, as were plasma levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone, neurotensin, and substance P. The only biological test parameter found to be reduced during the war period was mononuclear cell thymidine incorporated in nonstimulated cultures.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Society of Research Associates of the Lautenberg Center, Concern Foundation, and the Wake-fedshoprite Endowment. We acknowledge with appreciation the valuable advice of Drs Erol Cerasi and Sarit Larisch-Bloch in the design and interpretation of the study, and the help of Mss Marcella Wachtel. Julie Faber, and Samantha Zive in the preparation of the manuscript.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Applied Psychology