• Preschoolers;
  • resilience;
  • vulnerability;
  • mental health;
  • political violence

Background:  Exposure to adversity does not necessarily lead to the development of psychopathology in all affected children. This study examined the factors associated with resilience and vulnerability in mental health in the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Methods:  Children selected from a random sample of kindergartens (3-6 years old, = 350) were assessed for growth and their mothers administered an interview including a psychometric test battery.

Results:  Factors associated with resilience were maternal rated good health, higher maternal level of education, and less child exposure to traumatic events. Factors associated with vulnerability were poor maternal mental health, and male gender.

Conclusions:  Our findings highlight the importance of maternal health and education in affecting children’s mental health.