How Gaza conflict will traumatise a generation of adolescents

August 6, 2014

A new study has examined adolescent victims of conflict in the Gaza strip - and has found that exposure to war-torn environments has a lasting and damaging effect on the psychology of young people.

The paper, entitled 'Trauma, PTSD, Anxiety and Coping Strategies among Palestinians Adolescents Exposed to War in Gaza' has been published in the Arab Journal of Psychiatry and was co-authored by Professor Panos Vostanis from the University of Leicester's Greenwood Institute of Child Health, Professor Abdelaziz Thabet from Al-Quds University and Omar EL-Buhaisi from the University of Leicester.

The study investigated types of traumatic events experienced by Palestinian exposed to war in Gaza in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and and has found that a substantial number of adolescents in these situations develop a range of long-lasting emotional and behaviour problems.

Professor Vostanis said: "The University of Leicester has been collaborating with colleagues from Gaza for the last 15 years. All studies have consistently shown the impact of war trauma and how this is mediated further by poverty and deprivation. Each cycle of violence has a cumulative effect on children and ."

The sample comprised 358 adolescents aged 15 to 18 years; 158 boys (44.1%) and 200 girls (55.9%). Of the adolescents studied, the majority witnessed mutilated bodies on TV, were exposed to heavy artillery shelling, saw evidence of shelling and heard sonic sounds from jetfighters. As a result, many adolescents developed anxiety disorders, with females reporting a greater number of PTSD symptoms than males.

Professor Vostanis added: "The toll on the mental health of these young people tends to be exacerbated by poverty, which is endemic in Gaza. It's a double whammy for many of them. As well as the conflict itself, they are also affected by how their parents respond, by the provision of basic needs and if there's a sense of helplessness."

Explore further: Media exposure and sympathetic nervous system reactivity predict PTSD symptoms in adolescents

More information: Arab Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 25, No. 1 May 2014 edition, page 76:

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5 / 5 (3) Aug 06, 2014
But will they realise their community has been conned & coerced by the bloody-minded jihadists who'd rather build war-tunnels than shelters or schools ??
1 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2014
Israel's expectation to eject all of the Palestinians from their land is unrealistic, warlike and evil. On the other hand, the Palestinians are indoctrinating their little kids into terrorism with TV shows featuring muppets. They sing of jihad, and the glory of martyrdom. Mothers gleefully send their own sons to die with bombs strapped to their chests. However sick in the head the Israelis are, the Palestinians are that much sicker.

This conflict can only end in one of two ways: Israel ejects or kills all of the remaining Palestinians (which I think they have every intention and capability of doing) or both sides adopt a conciliatory stance that leads to some kind of peace, either in a one- or two-state solution. The Palestinians are the oppressed party here, and they need to decide whether they would prefer jihad and death or reconciliation and life. They can't have both! It is totally unfair to them, but they'll be wiped out if they keep doing this.
3 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2014
"Arab Journal of Psychiatry" -interesting juxtaposition.
Israel's expectation to eject all of the Palestinians from their land is unrealistic, warlike and evil.
So is promising to kill every jew in israel which hamas has done.
or both sides adopt a conciliatory stance that leads to some kind of peace
This cannot happen when both religions are desperately trying to outgrow and overrun each other. This is mandated in ALL religious books.

You hear in the news "my wife and 11 kids were forced to flee israeli bombing" "an extended family of 35 was driven from the house they were living in" etc. 60% of gazans are living on subsistence. 60% of gazans are CHILDREN.

Until they stop producing children for the purpose of expending them in war then there will BE NO PEACE. Of course these kids are traumatized. They know full well their sole purpose in life.

The only solution is a one-state solution. But this will never happen while religion dominates the region.
not rated yet Aug 11, 2014
So how many studies has this group published regarding the effect on adolescents of the raging war in Syria?

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