Social support buffers adolescent depression after terrorist attacks

July 20, 2009

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have conducted a "before and after" study of depression and terrorist attacks in adolescents, demonstrating that strong social support from friends is a buffer from depression in terrorism-related stress.

The study, believed to be the first of its type, was published in the July issue of Pediatrics, the journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Terrorism often leads to adolescent depression, but little is known about protective factors," said Prof. Golan Shahar from the Department of Psychology at BGU, who conducted the study with Dr. Christopher Henrich from Georgia State University.

The team examined (grades 7-9) who were indirectly exposed to a suicide bombing in Dimona, Israel who prior to the bombing there had already completed a questionnaire as a control group in a study of youth risk/resilience under stress for another study. When the suicide bombing occurred, the researchers decided to focus on the factors that might have a protective effect against developing depression as a result of a traumatic effect, such as the bombing.

Pre-bombing depression and social support from friends, which were measured during initial data collection were used to predict post-bombing depression measured by a perceived social support scale.

Participants were interviewed by telephone 30 days after the bombing about their bombing-related stress and depression. None of the Dimona teenagers had directly witnessed the bombing, but some had heard the explosion, while others knew people who had suffered physical or emotional damage, or saw media reports of the attack.

"The results showed that bombing-related perceived stress was associated with an increase in continuous levels of from before to after the bombing. Pre-bombing from friends buffered against this effect," said Shahar. "We found that the more socially happy adolescents were, the easier it was for them to protect against the depressogenic effect of terrorism-related perceived ."

Shahar states that the "findings should serve as a basis for the development of innovative preventive interventions for adolescents exposed to terror attacks."

Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Hormone therapy in the menopause transition did not increase stroke risk

November 24, 2017
Postmenopausal hormone therapy is not associated with increased risk of stroke, provided that it is started early, according to a report from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Moderate coffee drinking 'more likely to benefit health than to harm it', say experts

November 22, 2017
Drinking coffee is "more likely to benefit health than to harm it" for a range of health outcomes, say researchers in The BMJ today.

When traveling on public transport, you may want to cover your ears

November 22, 2017
The noise levels commuters are exposed to while using public transport or while biking, could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study published in the open access ...

Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses

November 22, 2017
Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses, but spirits are most frequently associated with feelings of aggression, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.