Terrorism, distress and coping: High versus low impact regions and direct versus indirect civilian exposure

Eli Somer, Ayalla Ruvio, Erez Soref, Ilana Sever

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The 2001-2002 terror campaign against Israel's heartland was an unprecedented string of deadly bombing attacks against Israeli civilians. The violence touched the lives of countless Israelis and has negatively affected the general mood of many. The objective of this investigation was to assess the level of exposure to terrorism for individuals residing in the affected areas and to examine psychological responses and ways of coping during the peak of the violence. A random sample of 327 adults, purposely over-sampled from the hardest-hit areas, was surveyed. Although citizens residing in the most severely hit locales were also those who suffered most from posttraumatic symptoms, the effects of major national trauma were not limited to those directly exposed to it. These results suggest that objective measures of exposure or loss may not be sensitive predictors of reactive distress. Acceptance of the situation and its uncontrollability was both the most commonly used way of coping employed and the only effective one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-182
Number of pages18
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Coping
  • Israel
  • Stress
  • Terror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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