Emotional Distress and Posttraumatic Growth During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Society in Israel

Michal Levinsky*, Miriam Schiff, Ruth Pat-Horenczyk, Rami Benbenishty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with a range of negative responses, including emotional distress, as well as with positive changes, such as posttraumatic growth (PTG). Among the vulnerability factors the literature lists SES and being part of a minority group. The aim of this study is to identify patterns of responses among the ultra-Orthodox Jewish society in Israel, in terms of both emotional distress (anxiety and depression) and multiple dimensions of PTG.

METHOD: The data were collected during the second wave of COVID-19 in Israel, between May and November 2020. The sample included 369 participants, all belonging to the ultra-Orthodox society. Latent class analysis was used to establish heterogeneous classes of participants displaying similar response patterns, using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 index (JAD-7), and the 10-item version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI-10). Multinomial regression examined which of the predictors best distinguished between the classes.

RESULTS: Three classes were identified, termed here Resilience, Growth, and Distress. As differential predictors of class membership, the study identified age; gender; self-rated health; and COVID-19-related potential negative experiences: economic decline, concerns, and microaggression. The Resilience and Growth patterns were the most prominent. A small number of participants formed a class characterized by high levels of distress.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings contribute to understanding the psychological response patterns of a minority group to COVID-19. The characteristics of the three classes highlight the important role of potentially negative experiences related to COVID-19 in the response patterns. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Ralph Goldman Center for Social Welfare, Judaism, and Ethics, Hebrew University. The study was assisted by the Infrastructure of the Resilience Research Group, Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This study was assisted by the Infrastructure of the Resilience Research Group, Baerwald School of Social Work Hebrew University

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • posttraumatic growth

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