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Status symmetry effect: The association of exposure and PTS in Israel-Palestine and Northern Ireland

Hirsch-Hoefler, Sivan and Vashdi, Dana R and Lowe, Robert and Muldoon, Orla and Canetti, Daphna (2019) Status symmetry effect: The association of exposure and PTS in Israel-Palestine and Northern Ireland. Terrorism and Political Violence. ISSN 0954-6553

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Abstract

A multi-national sample was used to investigate mechanisms that were hypothesized to moderate the relationship between exposure to political violence and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). We hypothesized that a) the phase of the conflict and b) the status asymmetry of the conflicting parties would moderate the relationship between exposure and PTS symptoms. We use original data from four groups - Israelis and Palestinians (n=2,572), and Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland (n=343). Looking at these two conflicts, we found that the positive relationship between exposure to violence and posttraumatic stress symptoms ceases to exist in a post-conflict setting (F(1, 2053)=4.95, p<.05, η2=0.002). Interestingly, we found that PTS symptoms were highest among minority group members in an ongoing conflict irrespective of exposure to political violence (F(1, 2053)=120.74, p<.001,η2=0.06). We provide explanations for these findings and discuss their psychological implications for victimized groups and the wider geopolitics of intergroup conflict.

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