Acute Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress and Dissociative Experiences Among Female Israeli Civilians Exposed to War: The Roles of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Sources of Resilience


  • Grateful thanks are extended to all those who participated in this study and to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and comments on a draft of this article.



The positive personality characteristics of optimism, hope, self-esteem, and perceived availability of social support are believed to play an important role in psychological adjustment to stressful life events. For example, these characteristics have been shown to be associated with fewer mood disturbances in response to a variety of stressors. However, relatively little is known about the extent to which these characteristics serve as sources of resilience among civilians during real-time exposure to war.


This “natural laboratory” study examined the role that individual differences both in intrapersonal (i.e., positive personality features of hope, optimism, and self-esteem) and in interpersonal (i.e., perceived social support from family, friends, and significant others) sources of resilience may play in the development of acute anxiety symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative experiences during exposure to war.


A nonclinical community sample of 140 female adults was assessed during real-time exposure to missile and rocket fire during an eruption of violence in the Middle East in November 2012.


The results demonstrate that both intrapersonal and interpersonal sources of resilience were negatively associated with acute PTSD and dissociative symptoms.


The findings of this study provide evidence that both intrapersonal and interpersonal sources of resilience may significantly mitigate the risk for acute anxiety symptoms among civilian communities exposed to traumatic events.