Supportive Relationships in Children and Adolescents Facing Political Violence and Mass Disasters

Gil Aba, Stephanie Knipprath, Golan Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: We identify trends and gaps in the literature on the role of social support in the psychopathology and risky behavior of youths exposed to political violence and mass disasters. We also discuss the implications of recent research’s findings and suggest directions for future research. Recent Findings: Political violence and natural disasters inflict serious blows to adolescents’ mental and physical health and may have reverberating, negative impacts throughout the nested social systems in which youths develop. However, many adolescents are not adversely affected, suggesting the presence of resilience. While the beneficial effects of social support from close others are well documented, along with situations under which perceived support may even increase stress, the exact mechanisms behind social support’s protective effects have not been thoroughly studied. Different personality attributes and/or different concepts of the self may possibly contribute to—or harm—youths’ resilience. Summary: There is considerable variability in research on adolescents’ social support in the context of political violence and mass disasters, stressors that may erode social support. Thus, further investigation of social support’s protective effects via longitudinal studies is highly important.

Original languageEnglish
Article number83
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Mass disasters
  • Political violence
  • Social support
  • Stress buffering hypothesis


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