Israeli psychological casualties of the Persian Gulf war; characteristics, therapy, and selected issues

A. Bleich, S. Kron, C. Margalit, G. Inbar, Z. Kaplan, S. Cooper, Z. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Persian Gulf war in 1991 presented Israel with its first experience of a threat of chemical attack on the home front. Ground-to-ground missiles were aimed directly at civilian populations, threatening death and destruction over a period of several weeks. Uncertainty as to time, place, and nature of the missile attacks affected the civilian population psychologically. The psychological responses of the population were the result of the continuous nature of the emergency which affected the entire population, and the destruction, injury, and displacement which affected those who were the targets of the attacks. The primary psychological effects of the emergency were investigated in several ways: surveys of samples of civilian and rear-echelon military populations, studies of the military personnel who asked for ambulatory psychological treatment as a result of the war, and studies of the specific populations that bore the brunt of the actual physical attacks were conducted. These studies show a high level of distress in the samples, with considerable differentiation between the populations. Levels of functioning generally remained intact even among the displaced or injured. Interventions were based on experience gained in the treatment of combat stress reaction. The issues of evacuation of psychological casualties to hospitals, psychiatric aspects of chemical attacks, and secondary traumatization of therapeutic and other staff are emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-676
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical weapons
  • Mass casualty events
  • Persian Gulf war
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological casualties
  • Secondary traumatization
  • Stress reactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering


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