ABSTRACT The coping process was examined in a group of Israeli subjects experiencing SCUD missile attacks during the Persian Gulf War. We were interested in examining the relationship of coping resources, optimism, perceived control, and coping strategies, to anxiety, to physical symptoms, and to cognitive functioning during a real crisis. Data were gathered via structured questionnaires in the midst of the Persian Gulf War (February 1991) on a sample of 261 adult respondents residing in northern Israel. Although people reported a mixture of palliative and active coping strategies, it was the use of palliative coping efforts that predicted greater anxiety and physical symptoms. Subjects with greater coping resources used more palliative and active coping strategies and had higher cognitive functioning. However, active coping did not predict any of the negative stress reactions (i.e., anxiety and physical symptoms). People who perceived being in control of the situation reported using less palliative coping and fewer symptoms. That active coping did not predict negative stress reactions may have been a function of the severity of the stressor, and the resultant high levels of anxiety that were engendered. Overall, these findings do point to a different coping process in a grave and ongoing disaster situation than that reported in reaction to more normal life events.