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Study: How Palestinian and Israeli children are psychologically scarred by exposure to war
Date:9/16/2010

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---As another round of talks continues between Israelis and Palestinians, a new University of Michigan study documents the impact the violence has been inflicting on the region's children.

Palestinian and Israeli children not only suffer the direct physical consequences of violence, they are also being psychologically scarred by the high levels of violence they witness, according to the study, presented earlier this summer at the International Society for Research on Aggression.

Nearly 50 percent of Palestinian children between the ages of 11 and 14 reported that they had seen other Palestinians upset or crying because someone they knew or loved had been killed by Israelis. Nearly the same proportion reported seeing in person other Palestinians who were injured or dead, lying on stretchers or on the ground, as a result of Israeli attacks in the last year.

For Israelis, the figures were lower but still appallingly high, according to the study. More than 25 percent of Israeli Jewish children of the same age reported seeing other Israelis upset or crying because someone they knew or loved had been killed by Palestinians, and nearly 10 percent reported that they had seen in person other Israelis who were injured or dead, lying on stretchers or on the ground, as a result of Palestinian attacks in the last year.

"The results show that Palestinian children in particular are seeing extraordinary amounts of very disturbing violence in their daily lives," said psychologist Rowell Huesmann, director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and principal investigator of the project. "Furthermore, this exposure is very deleterious. It is associated with dramatic increases in post-traumatic stress symptoms and increases in aggressive behavior directed at peers."

Children who saw the most violence experienced the highest levels of fear, anxiety, nightmares, and incap
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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-9069
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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