PTSD symptoms, satisfaction with life, and prejudicial attitudes toward the adversary among Israeli civilians exposed to ongoing missile attacks


  • Avi Besser,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Behavioral Sciences, and Center for Research in Personality, Life Transitions, and Stressful Life Events, Sapir College, D. N. Hof Ashkelon, Israel
    • Department of Behavioral Sciences, Sapir College, D. N. Hof Ashkelon 79165, Israel
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  • Yuval Neria

    1. Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, and Trauma and PTSD Program, The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
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  • Grateful thanks are extended to all of the participants in this study. We would like to express our gratitude to research assistants from Sapir Academic College and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Eilat Campus for their investment in data collection. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions.


Few studies have examined the consequences of exposure to ongoing missile attacks in civilian populations. The authors examine the relationships between such exposure, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), satisfaction with life, and prejudicial attitudes toward the adversary. By using a stratified probability sampling, 160 adults, exposed to repeated missile attacks in southern Israel, were compared to 181 adults from areas outside the range of these attacks. Exposed participants reported more PTSD symptoms and less satisfaction with life, as compared to unexposed participants. The associations between PTSD and satisfaction with life and between PTSD and prejudicial attitudes were significantly stronger among the exposed participants, as compared to those who were not exposed to the attacks. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.