Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Kathryn Dardeck

Abstract

Since 2000, the southern Israeli town of Sderot and a neighboring rural region, Otef Aza, have been frequently exposed to nearly identical terror attacks by Hamas. While only a small minority of Otef Aza residents have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more than a third of Sderot residents have been diagnosed with PTSD. Factors such as social cohesion and ideology may be the unique factors that protect Otef Aza kibbutzim residents from PTSD; however, a gap in the literature exists as to how these same factors might affect PTSD symptomology in Sderot residents. Orthodox religiosity has also been associated with reduced PTSD symptoms in Sderot; however, previous research on religiosity has analyzed demographic characteristics and did not use a measure assessing dimensions of religiosity. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the impact of sense of community, ideology, and religiosity on PTSD symptoms among Sderot residents. The theoretical foundation of this study was the diathesisâ??stress model of PTSD. A survey was completed by a convenience sample of Sderot residents (n = 118). Standard multiple linear regression revealed that ideology, intrinsic religiosity, nonorganizational religious activity, and the fulfillment of needs dimension of sense of community were significant predictors of PTSD symptomatology. Study findings suggested protective factors which could help a large portion of the population. These findings have implications for positive social change for the residents of Sderot by enhancing their opportunities for increased positive interactions, well-being, and meaning and value in their lives.

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