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

acitating thoughts, according to results from the first year of the three-year, longitudinal study of 1,500 children ages 8 to 14. For example, more than 70 percent of Israeli Arab children who saw these things frequently had nightmares.

Even more disturbing, both Palestinian and Israeli youth who saw the most violence were significantly more likely to slap, choke, punch, beat, or threaten others of their own groups with a gun or a knife. For example, 51 percent of youth at the lowest levels of violence exposure reported having committed at least one of those acts during the past year versus 71 percent of youth at the highest levels of violence exposure.

"The results show that Palestinian children in particular are seeing extraordinary amounts of very disturbing violence in their daily lives, and the more they are exposed to violence, the more anxiety they experience and the more aggressively they behave," said ISR psychologist Eric Dubow, who along with Paul Boxer of Rutgers University is a co-principal investigator of the project.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development and the Fogarty Center for International Studies and is a collaboration between the ISR, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.

The researchers also showed that the relation between exposure and aggression and anxiety is not due to other characteristics of the youth or family. And although exposure to war-related violence seemed to stimulate more family and community violence as well, analyses showed that the effects on symptoms of post-traumatic stress and on aggressive behavior were a direct result of exposure to war-related violence.

"Because of the sophisticated sampling and interviewing techniques used by our collaborators---Khalil Shikaki at the Palestinian Center and Simha Landau at Hebrew University, we believe that this is the most accurate d
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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-9069
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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