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Psychol Med. 1996 May;26(3):503-10.

Psychological distress among recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel, II. The effects of the Gulf War.

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JDC Israel-Falk Institute for Mental Health and Behavioral Studies, Jerusalem, Israel.


The psychological effects of the Gulf War were studied on a group of Israeli civilians particularly at risk, viz. recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union. A quasi-experimental design was used. A sample of immigrants who had already been screened for psychological distress just before the war were reassessed after the war with the same instrument (PERI demoralization questionnaire). Various parameters related to the war period were also assessed. Psychological symptoms during the war were significantly associated with pre-war level of distress and with actual physical harm from the missiles, but not with exposure to danger (proximity of residence to areas hit by missiles). Correlates of behaviour in the face of life-threatening danger during the war (change of residence and help-seeking behaviour) were also identified. Overall the level of post-war psychological distress was not found to be higher than pre-war levels. This was explained by the immigrants' feelings of shared fate, belonging and sense of cohesion, which characterize the general Israeli population during war time.

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