Post-traumatic stress and growth following forced relocation

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, Rachel Dekel, Rivka Tuval-Mashiach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Forced relocation has been recognised as a traumatic event, which can generate pathological and positive responses. The current study focused on the situation of Israeli residents who were forced to relocate from their homes in the Gaza Strip. Two main questions were examined: the association between post-traumatic symptoms and post-traumatic growth responses following the forced relocation; and the contribution of contextual variables to the variance in those reactions. A sample of 269 participants completed questionnaires, which assessed post-traumatic symptoms and growth following the relocation. The relationship between post-traumatic symptoms and growth was found to be curvilinear, depending on the levels of the post-traumatic symptoms. Participants who expressed a high sense of belonging to the country showed relatively high levels of growth and relatively low levels of post-traumatic symptoms. In addition, participants living in temporary housing reported lower levels of growth than did those in independent housing. These findings highlight the importance of contextual variables that affect people's ability to cope with traumatic events such as forced relocation. The findings also indicate that the strengths perspective and the Person in Environment approach might help social workers better understand the phenomenon of forced relocation and determine the level of their interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-501
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Post-traumatic symptoms
  • evacuees
  • forced relocation
  • post-traumatic growth
  • sense of belonging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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