How the Gaza conflict will traumatise a generation of young people
A new study led by Professor Panos Vostanis (pictured) from the School of Psychology has examined adolescent victims of conflict in the Gaza strip and has found that exposure to war-torn environments has a lasting and damaging effect on their psychological wellbeing.
The paper, entitled ‘Trauma, PTSD, Anxiety and Coping Strategies among Palestinians Adolescents Exposed to War in Gaza’ has been published in the Arab Journal of Psychiatry and investigates types of traumatic events experienced by Palestinian adolescents exposed to war in Gaza in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and coping strategies.
Of the adolescents studied, the majority witnessed mutilated bodies on TV, were exposed to heavy artillery shelling, saw evidence of shelling and heard sonic sounds from jetfighters, leaving a lasting impression on many.
Professor Vostanis said: “The toll on the mental health of these young people tends to be exacerbated by poverty, which is endemic in Gaza. It's a double whammy for many of them. As well as the conflict itself, they are also affected by how their parents respond, by the provision of basic needs and if there's a sense of helplessness.”