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Abstract

Since 2000, the southern Israeli town of Sderot and 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 posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more than a third of Sderot residents have been so diagnosed. Factors such as social cohesion and ideology may be the unique factors that protect Otef Aza 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 analyzed demographic characteristics and did not use a measure specifically assessing dimensions of religiosity. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the impact of community, ideology, and religiosity on PTSD symptoms among Sderot residents. A survey was distributed to a convenience sample of Sderot residents that 118 participants successfully completed. Standard multiple linear regression revealed that ideology, intrinsic religiosity, nonorganizational religious activity, and 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. The implications for positive social change for Sderot residents include increased positive interactions, sense of well-being, meaning, and value in their lives.

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