Gender responses to psychological distress among Palestinians: Risk and protective factors

Authors

  • Vivian Khamis

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Education, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Vivian Khamis, Department of Education, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, American University of Beirut, Bliss Street-11-0236, Beirut, Lebanon (e-mail: vk07@aub.edu.lb).

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Abstract

This study investigated the extent to which differences in the presence of trauma, political and normative stressors, resources, coping, and hardiness could account for variation in gender responses to psychological distress among Palestinians. Participants were 624 males and females aged 27–56 years. Questionnaires were administered in an interview format with participants at home. Results indicated that female gender has been associated with psychological distress. The females in this study reported feeling distressed by intrafamily strains, whereas males reported feeling distressed by work and family strains as well as losses. Political stressors were more predictive of psychological distress than was the presence of trauma or normative stressors. The sociodemographics had different patterns of relations with psychological distress. Females' education was negatively related to psychological distress, whereas the family income was negatively related to psychological distress in males. No significant differences between males and females were found in their coping responses. However, cognitive and behavioural strategies Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES) seem to combine and had an impact on psychological distress of females only. Also, family hardiness was evidenced to have an influence on perceived psychological distress in both genders. The clinical and policy implications of these conclusions were discussed.

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