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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2010 May;198(5):382-4. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181da4b67.

The effects of "psychological inoculation" versus ventilation on the mental resilience of Israeli citizens under continuous war stress.

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  • 1Department of the Stress and Trauma Studies, School of Social Work, Tel Hai Academic College, Tel Hai, Israel.


Anxiety and hopelessness are common reactions of citizens exposed to continuous war threats. Common interventions focus on support, calming, and emotional ventilation, with few attempts to reduce people's cognitive barriers concerning active coping, which could increase their resilience. This study tested the effects of psychological inoculation (PI), which specifically aims to challenge such barriers, on the mental resilience of Israeli citizens living in Sderot. Participants were randomly assigned to either 2 PI sessions or 2 ventilation sessions, provided over the phone. Anxiety, helplessness, pessimism, and functioning were briefly assessed at baseline and 1 week after interventions. No time, group, or group x time interactions were observed. However, a time x group x sex interaction emerged for helplessness: Men benefited from the PI whereas women benefited from ventilation, in reducing helplessness. Under chronic war stress, it seems difficult to improve people's resilience, although PI may be partly beneficial for men. Further research is needed to test the effects of PI on mental resilience.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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