A Prospective Study of Risk and Resilience Factors Associated With Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Depression Symptoms Among Jews and Arabs Exposed to Repeated Acts of Terrorism in Israel

Robert J. Johnson, Daphna Canetti, Patrick A. Palmieri, Sandro Galea, Joseph Varley, Stevan E. Hobfoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


In the first prospective study, to our knowledge, of the impact of ongoing terrorism and political violence, we analyzed nationally representative data from 560 Jews and 182 Arabs in Israel over a 6-month period. Based on Conservation of Resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 1989, 1998), we predicted that exposure to terrorism and political violence would result in psychosocial and economic resource loss and resource lack, which in turn, would be primary predictors of increases in symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS) and depression. We also predicted that trauma exposure and PTS symptoms, in particular, would be related to ethnocentrism and support for political violence. Furthermore, based on theory and prior research, we predicted that posttraumatic growth (PTG) would be related to a worsening of symptoms of distress and that distress would be related to increased ethnocentrism and support for extreme political violence for their "cause." Women, older individuals, and Arabs (compared with Jews) were more likely to have continued psychological distress over time. In addition, using simultaneous equation modeling, we found good fit for a structural model that partially supported our hypotheses. Psychosocial resource loss, PTG, and social support had direct and indirect effects on psychological distress. Political attitudes tended to harden over time but were not prospectively related to PTS or depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-311
Number of pages21
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009



  • depression
  • ethnocentrism
  • political violence
  • posttraumatic growth
  • posttraumatic stress
  • posttraumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this