January 15, 2009

Stressful Equivalence. Gaza vs Sderot

Posted in ! My Articles tagged , , , , , , , at 3:19 pm by Alexia

I keep getting a lot of comments on my various postings about how stressful it has been to live in Sderot down the last few years.  They get around 10 of the home made rockets fired into their town each day.

After spending time in Gaza in 2002-3 and seeing their weaponry then I’m surprised those things actually work, let alone hit anything.

Turns out that no one lives in the town has actually been killed by those rockets.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7830405.stm

None of the four people killed by rockets in the past three weeks have been in Sderot, but three people in the town have been injured and about 100 Qassams have caused serious damage.

 I remember while I was in Gaza SIX years ago there were serious mental health issues affecting the residents.  I still need to do some digging to find a decent article, but I have found this.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17631959

It’s an extract from an academic paper.  The extract is so short I’ll quote it here:

Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety among Gaza Strip adolescents in the wake of the second Uprising (Intifada).

Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies, School of Education, Howard University, 2441 Fourth Street NW, Washington, DC 20059, USA.

OBJECTIVE: Children and adolescents of the Gaza Strip have been subjected to continuous violence since the eruption of the second Intifada (Uprising). Little is known, however, about the psychological effects of this violence on children and adolescents of Gaza. Thus, the purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate and describe the psychological effects of exposure of war-like circumstances on this population.

METHOD: Participants for this study were 229 Palestinian adolescents living in the Gaza Strip who were administered measures of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and coping.

RESULTS: Of the 229 participants, 68.9% were classified as having developed PTSD, 40.0% reported moderate or severe levels of depression, 94.9% were classified as having severe anxiety levels, and 69.9% demonstrated undesirable coping responses. A canonical discriminant analysis revealed that adolescents diagnosed with PTSD tended to be those who reported the highest levels of depression, anxiety, and positive reappraisal coping, and the lowest levels of seeking guidance and support coping.

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that a significant proportion of Palestinian adolescents living in the Gaza Strip are experiencing serious psychological distress.

Whilst I feel sorry for anyone who is caught up in violence, this attempt at moral equivalence and justification for the wholesale destruction of Gaza is distasteful.

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