Can living in the shadow of terror leave no marks? Long-term effects of traumatic environments of varying intensity

Yarden Mendelson, Eytan Bachar*, Aaron Cherniak, Rena Cooper-Kazaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study investigated the long-term effects of different traumatic environments on adolescents. Environments were characterized by different threats that varied in predictability, duration, and the extent to which the threat can be defended against. The research examined: 1) Jerusalem during the Second Intifada (2001-2004), 2) Israel’s northern cities during the Second Lebanon War (2006), and 3) cities that suffered neither the suicide bombings (that occurred in Jerusalem) nor the rocket bombardments (that occurred in the north). Method: Data was collected from surveys administered to 115 subjects aged 19-28 who were adolescents in the aforementioned cities at the relevant times but were not directly affected by terror. Participants were administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) and the Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R). Results: No significant differences were found between subjects who lived in different traumatic environments as adolescents in levels of depression, posttraumatic symptoms (PTS) or posttraumatic growth (PTG). In fact, a pattern in the data indicates that adolescents in Jerusalem were less negatively impacted by their environment than were the other groups, even though Jerusalem experienced an unpredictable threat that could not be defended against, a chronic chaotic environment. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the effects of a chronic chaotic environment did not produce significantly more symptoms than other environments when examined several years later. Reactions to terror, including parental attitude towards adolescents’ daily routine, are also discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

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