Coping styles as moderating the relationships between terrorist attacks and well-being outcomes

Orna Braun-Lewensohn, Smadar Celestin-Westreich, Leon Patrice Celestin, Gino Verleye, Dominique Verté, Ingrid Ponjaert-Kristoffersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This study aims to explore use of coping strategies among adolescents and their relationships with well being in the context of ongoing terrorism. Furthermore, we aim to explore to what extent coping styles in addition to exposure variables explain well being of adolescents facing ongoing terror. During September 2003, after three years of ongoing terror attacks, 913 Israeli adolescents aged 12-18 years, completed the following questionnaires during regular class sessions: Demographics, Achenbach's Youth Self Report; Exposure to Terror and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) questionnaire; Adolescent Coping Scale (ACS) and Brief Symptoms Inventory. Adolescents employed mainly problem solving strategies which mean they have the capacity to cope well in spite of stressful events. Emotional focused coping was associated with PTS and mental health problems. Regression analysis of different exposure and coping variables revealed that exposure, appraisal (subjective exposure) and coping styles explained 26-37% of the variance of different psychological problems. The findings highlight the importance of appraisal (subjective exposure) and coping strategies, for understanding adolescents' mental health outcomes. Moreover, these findings are relevant to the development of prevention/intervention programs that facilitate youth's cognitive and emotional adjustments to ongoing trauma risks and terror threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-599
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Adolescents
  • Coping
  • PTSS/D
  • Psychological problems
  • Terrorism
  • Well-being


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