Symptoms of acute stress in Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens during the second lebanon war

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Abstract

Background: The "Second Lebanon War" exposed northern Israel to massive missile attacks, aimed at civilian centers, Jewish and Arab, for a period of several weeks. Objective: To assess prevalence of acute stress disorder (ASD) and acute stress symptoms (ASS) in Jewish and Arab samples, and their correlates with demographic and exposure variables. Method: Telephone survey conducted in the third week of the second Lebanon war with a random sample of 133 Jewish and 66 Arab adult residents of northern Israel. ASD, ASS and symptoms-related impairment were measured by the Acute Stress Disorder Interview (ASDI) questionnaire, in addition to war-related exposure and demographic data. Results: The majority of respondents experienced at least one of four symptom groups of ASD, 5.5% of the Jewish respondents and 20.3% of the Arabs met the criteria of ASD. Higher rates of Arab respondents reported symptoms of dissociation, reexperiencing and arousal, but a similar rate of avoidance was reported by the two samples. Higher mean scores of ASS and of symptoms-related impairment were reported by the Arab respondents. According to multiple regression analyses, younger age, female gender, Arab ethnicity and experiencing the war more intensely as a stressor significantly explained ASS variance, while Arab ethnicity and proximity to missiles exploding significantly explained the variance of symptoms-related impairment. Conclusions: A substantial rate of participants experienced symptoms of acute stress, while for only small proportion were the symptoms consistent with ASD. Higher ASD and ASS were reported by the Arab sample, calling attention to the need to build interventions to reduce the present symptoms and to help prepare for possible similar situations in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-836
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume42
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2007

Keywords

  • Acute stress disorder
  • Acute stress symptoms
  • Ethnicity
  • War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology

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