Living in the shadow of terrorism: Psychological distress and alcohol use among religious and non-religious adolescents in Jerusalem

Miriam Schiff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the effects of prolonged exposure to terrorism in 600 religious and non-religious Jewish adolescents living in Jerusalem, particularly post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, depressive symptoms, alcohol use, coping strategies and social support. The youth in Jerusalem reported high exposure to terrorist acts. This exposure was associated with high PTS, depressive symptoms and alcohol use. Despite an apparently greater exposure to terrorism, religious adolescents reported lower levels of PTS and alcohol consumption, but similar levels of depressive symptoms to non-religious adolescents. Problem-solving coping predicted higher depressive symptoms for religious adolescents exposed to terrorism but not for similarly exposed non-religious adolescents. In contrast, emotion-focused coping predicted more alcohol consumption among highly exposed non-religious adolescents, while emotion-focused coping predicted more alcohol consumption among religious adolescents with low exposure. The overall findings suggest that religiosity may buffer the negative consequences of exposure in other ways than through coping or support.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2301-2312
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume62
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol use
  • Depression
  • Israel
  • PTSD
  • Religiosity
  • Substance use
  • Terrorism

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