Posttraumatic stress and worry as mediators and moderators between political stressors and emotional and behavioral disorders in Palestinian children

  • Khamis V
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Abstract

This study was designed to assess whether the symptoms of posttraumatic stress mediate or moderate the relationship between political stressors and emotional and behavioral disorders in Palestinian children. It was hypothesized that (a) posttraumatic stress and worry mediate the effect of political stressors on behavioral and emotional disorders and (b) the relationship between political stressors and behavioral and emotional disorders should be attenuated for children with low levels of worry and posttraumatic stress and strengthened for children with high levels of worry and posttraumatic stress. The total sample was 1267 school age children of both sexes with a mean age of 11.97 years. Interviews were conducted with children at school. As hypothesized, the results indicated that posttraumatic stress and worry mediated and moderated the relationship between political stressors and emotional and behavioral disorders in children. Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be used to reduce the incidence of posttraumatic stress and decrease self-reported worry, somatic symptoms, general anxiety, and depression among children exposed to political trauma. Cognitive-behavioral treatment that exclusively targets excessive worry can lead to clinical change in the other interacting subsystems at the cognitive, physiological, affective and behavioral levels.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Palestinian children
  • Political stressors
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • War
  • Worry

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Authors

  • Vivian Khamis

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