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Reactions to Repeated Unpredictable Terror Attacks: Relationships Among Exposure, Posttraumatic Distress, Mood, and Intensity of Coping1


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    This study was supported in part by a grant from the R. D. Wolfe Centre for the Study of Psychological Stress, University of Haifa, Israel. The authors thank Dvash Software Systems of Haifa, Israel, for their kind assistance.

Eli Somer, School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel. E-mail:


We hypothesized that exposure to Type IV trauma (involving alteration in a person's basic relation to the environment), associated with prolonged terrorist threats, would impact posttraumatic distress and that exposure to terrorism would impact the intensity of coping. The relationships revealed by the data proved to be in line with this model. Our data suggested that the relationship of exposure and coping was not direct, but seemed to be mediated by posttraumatic distress, that demoralization at the height of an unrelenting terror campaign was unrelated to trauma exposure, and that acceptance was a distinct way of coping adopted by targeted Israelis. Acceptance showed the weakest association with posttraumatic distress and was related inversely to our index of low morale.