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Keywords:

  • psychotherapy;
  • debriefing;
  • terrorist attack

This study describes a follow-up of 15 non-injured women, all from the same socio-economic background, who were exposed to a terrorist attack in Israel. All of the women participated in group debriefing with brief group psychotherapy, involving six meetings during the first 2 months following the event. Two days after the attack, and 2 months and 6 months after the event, the women were administered a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic scale, the Impact of Event Scale (IES) and the SCL-90. At 6 months, four subjects (27%) were diagnosed with full PTSD. The IES showed significantly higher scores at the first measure than at the other two measures. Furthermore, the phobic anxiety subscale score immediately after the event was significantly associated with the General Severity Index of the SCL-90 and the severity of PTSD symptomatology at 6 months. The present paper discusses the effectiveness of psychological intervention following trauma, and raises questions concerning the need to invest public resources in this kind of intensive intervention. Suggestions are proposed regarding the desired emphasis of the psychological treatment in order to improve its benefits to victims.