PREVALENCE OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS AND EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS AMONG ISRAELI ADOLESCENTS EXPOSED TO ONGOING TERRORISM pp. 117-144
Authors: Orna Braun-Lewensohn, Smadar Celestin-Westreich, Leon-Patrice Celestin, Dominique Verté and Ingrid Ponjaert-Kristoffersen
Abstract: Given that to date relatively little research has been carried out into the effects of ongoing terrorist attacks with the emphasis on adolescents in urban areas, this study set out to investigate a wide range of self-reported emotional and behavioral outcomes among adolescents facing ongoing terrorism in both urban and rural locations in Israel. 913 adolescents aged twelve to eighteen years from four different locations in Israel who were exposed in different ways to terrorist attacks over a period of three years against the backdrop of ongoing terror are investigated to identify the prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and related mental health problems by self-report measures, including Achenbach‘s Youth Self-Report, the Brief Symptoms Inventory and a specially designed questionnaire covering Post Traumatic Stress and exposure to terror data. Around 90% of the adolescents experience mild to severe PTS, one fifth reported borderline or clinical emotional and behavioral problems, and one third reported mental health difficulties. Students from different locations revealed different levels of PTS and other psychological problems. Analysis according to level of exposure revealed that it was not always those whose exposure was the most objectively severe who exhibited the most symptoms. Future research should highlight the unique characteristics of ongoing exposure to terrorism, such as the cumulative effects of exposure and risk of exposure, in order to shed light on their contribution to mental health outcomes.