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Teachers-based intervention provides stress resistance in war-exposed children
Date:4/14/2011

Washington, D.C., 14 April, 2011 During the winter of 2008�, a three-week armed conflict in the south of Israel and the Gaza Strip named "Operation Cast Lead" resulted in hundreds of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian populations. During this time children and their families spent hours and days in shelters amid threats to their survival.

Although the psychological effects of children's health are well-documented, local resources aimed at alleviating the negative outcomes of mass trauma are often overwhelmed. In the face of human-made or natural disasters, the school setting and teachers empowered to serve as "clinical mediators" can provide crucial role in assisting children in coping with exposure to trauma.

In a study published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), researchers report on the effects of an Israeli, teacher-based stress resistance intervention implemented in grade schools before the rocket attacks that occurred during Operation Cast Lead, compared with a non-intervention but exposed control group. This is the first known study to evaluate psychiatric outcomes in children who received stress intervention before the onset of mass trauma.

Mr. Wolmer, and Drs. Hamiel and Laor, from the Tel Aviv-Brull Community Mental Health Center, Donald J. Cohen and Irving B. Harris Resilience Center for Trauma and Disaster Intervention, and Child Study Center at Yale University evaluated 1,488 fourth and fifth grade Jewish students from a southern Israeli city that had been exposed to the continuous rocket attacks during Operation Cast Lead. Participating schools, chosen because of their proximity to the Gaza Strip, provided teacher training in stress resistance which focused on resilience building rather than directly addressing trauma symptoms. The teacher-led intervention was implemented at six schools three months before the traumatic
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Contact: Chris J. Pfister
C.Pfister@elsevier.com
215-239-3266
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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