Continuous Traumatic Situations in the Face of Ongoing Political Violence: The Relationship Between CTS and PTSD

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, Yael Shoval-Zuckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This article presents a literature review of the concept of continuous traumatic situations (CTS), which relates to residents living in ongoing situations of political violence and national security threats. The first aim of this review is to narrow the gap regarding knowledge about the concept of CTS by presenting findings from studies that have assessed the effects of CTS on civilian populations. The second aim is to describe CTS in a way that highlights the differences and similarities between posttraumatic stress disorder and responses to CTS. This distinction is a necessary precondition for examining CTS, as is a careful clinical analysis of the development and course of symptoms. This literature review also highlights the importance of adopting a supplementary perspective for understanding the psychological impact of ongoing exposure to real threats, which can be used as a basis for developing intervention strategies that are appropriate for coping with life in the context of persistent violence. CTS can be manifested as emotions, behaviors, and perceptions among individuals, families, communities, and societies. The nature of the proposed model of CTS is a circular one, combining past and future perceptions and emotional reactions that have resulted from continuous and repeated traumatic experiences over an extended period of time. This wider understanding reflects the complexity of the CTS phenomenon. Various micro and macro interventions relating to CTS as the result of political violence situations and national security threats are presented, and recommendations for practice, policy, and future research are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-570
Number of pages9
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • continuous threat
  • ongoing traumatic stress response (OTSR)
  • posttraumatic stress
  • prolonged chronic stress situations
  • terror
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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