Effects of exposure to rocket attacks on adolescent distress and violence: A 4-year longitudinal study

Christopher C. Henrich, Golan Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The effects of Israeli adolescents' exposure to rocket attacks over time were examined, focusing on anxiety, depression, aggression, and violence commission. Method: A sample of 362 adolescents from southern Israel was followed from 2008 through 2011 with four annual assessments. Measures included exposure to rocket attacks (gauging whether children were affected by rocket attacks, both directly and indirectly, through friends and family), anxiety (items from the State Anxiety Inventory), depression (the Center for Epidemiological Studies Child Depression Scale), aggression (the Orpinas Aggression Scale), and violence commission (from the Social and Health Assessment). Results: Concurrent and longitudinal findings differed. Wave 1 exposure to rockets attacks was associated with Wave 1 anxiety, depression, and aggression. Longitudinal results evinced only modest effects of exposure on anxiety and depression, no effects on aggression, but robust effects on violence commission. Exposure to terror attacks before the study predicted increased odds of violence commission at the fourth and final wave, controlling for violence commission at the first, second, and third wave. Exposure to rocket attacks in the second wave predicted increased odds of violence commission at the third wave. Conclusion: This is the first longitudinal study attesting to the prospective longitudinal effect of exposure to terrorism on adolescent violence. Findings should serve as a red flag for health care practitioners working in civil areas afflicted by terrorism and political violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-627
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume52
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013

Keywords

  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • terrorism
  • violence

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