Resilience in Palestinian adolescents living in Gaza

Psychol Trauma. 2017 Jan;9(1):36-43. doi: 10.1037/tra0000153. Epub 2016 May 30.


[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 9(1) of Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (see record 2016-36102-001). There were grammatical errors to the Method section of the abstract and the Method subsection Participants. Corrected versions are provided.] Objective: The pathogenic impact of ongoing political conflict on children and adolescents has been well-documented in the literature. The present study, by contrast, examined the factors that support adolescent health and utilized a salutogenic model to examine prevalence of depression and anxiety and predictors of resilience in a group of adolescents attending secondary school in Gaza.

Method: There were 335 Palestinian adolescents (n = 335) enrolled in 11th and 12th grades in secondary schools in Gaza refugee camps completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and self-report measures assessing coping skills, self-regulation, optimism, parenting style, family sense of coherence, national identity, ethnic identity, and other demographic variables.

Results: Participants with stronger national identity, stronger family sense of coherence, greater self-regulation, and more optimism reported less depressive and anxious symptoms. In a logistic regression analysis, significant predictors of resilience (minimal to no anxiety and depression, n = 135) were age, optimism, family sense of coherence, ethnic identity, self-regulation, and coping skills.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that older age, optimism, perception of family seeing the world as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful, stronger Arab ethnic identity, greater self-regulation and stronger coping skills promote adolescent adaptation and health. Salutogenesis frames information about how resilient youth living in high threat environments may respond to preventative community-based behavioral health interventions as well as treatment of depression, anxiety, and other psychological distress among adolescents living with ongoing violence. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology*
  • Anxiety / ethnology*
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle East / ethnology
  • Optimism / psychology*
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self-Control / psychology*
  • Sense of Coherence*
  • Social Identification*