Coping strategies among adolescents: Israeli Jews and Arabs facing missile attacks

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Abstract

The study examined the use of coping strategies among Israeli Jewish and Arab adolescents who faced missile attacks during the Second Lebanon War. We further explored the role of ethnicity, gender and age in explaining psychological distress and the ways in which different coping strategies relate to health outcomes in the two ethnic groups. Data were gathered from 303 Israeli adolescents (231 Jews and 72 Arabs), 12-19 years old, who filled out self-reported questionnaires among which were demographics; Adolescent Coping Scale, Scale of Psychological Distress (SPD), state anxiety and state anger. Both Jewish and Arab adolescents mostly used "problem solving" coping strategies and reported relatively low levels of psychological distress. Similarities among Jews and Arabs were indicated in the use of "problem solving" coping strategies but not in the use of "reference to others" - and "non-productive" coping strategies. Significant but small effects were indicated for gender and interaction of ethnicity and age on "psychological distress." The coping strategies explained only 35% of the variance of stress reactions for the Jewish group but 51% for the Arab group. The results are discussed against the background of an interactionist approach, considering coping as a function of interaction between the stressful war event and the individual-cultural background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Coping strategies
  • Israeli Jews and Arabs
  • Missile attacks
  • Stress reactions

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