Adolescent substance use in Israel: The roles of exposure to political traumas and posttraumatic stress symptoms

Miriam Schiff*, Lin Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have not examined the potential mediating role of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTS) and moderating roles of gender and ethnicity among adolescents in the aftermath of political traumas, especially in the Middle East. This study of Israeli adolescents aimed to begin bridging these gaps in knowledge. We addressed the following hypotheses: (a) greater exposure to multiple political traumas would be associated with adolescent substance use; (b) greater PTS would be associated with adolescent substance use; (c) PTS would mediate the association of exposure to multiple political traumas on substance use; and (d) gender and ethnicity would moderate the pathways from exposure and PTS to substance use. A nationally representative sample included 4,733 Grade 10 and 11 students (half were females; 36.8% were Arabs). Results of bootstrapping estimations found a significant direct link between exposure to multiple political traumas and substance use, as well as an indirect link through PTS. Gender moderated the relationship between PTS and substance use, while ethnicity moderated the association between exposure and substance use. Specifically, female adolescent substance use decreased when their PTS increased. Arab adolescents who had greater exposure to multiple political traumas used more substances. PTS may be an important mechanism by which trauma exposure is associated with increased substance use. Screening adolescents for PTS and substance use, shortly after political trauma, is essential to address the potential risk factors in vulnerable adolescents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)453-463
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • political traumas
  • posttraumatic stress
  • substance use

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