In a study published in the journal Psychological Trauma, researchers examined sociodemographic, persecutor identity, torture, and postmigration variables associated with suicidal ideation in a clinical sample of 267 immigrant survivors of torture who have resettled in New York City. The purpose of this study was to identify variables associated with increased risk for suicidal ideation in survivors of torture before they receive legal, psychological, or medical services for torture-related needs. Results from a binary logistic regression model identified a combination of 3 variables associated with current suicidal ideation at intake into the program. Being female, having not submitted an application for asylum, and a history of rape or sexual assault were significantly associated with suicidal ideation at intake, when also controlling for several other important variables. The final model explained 21.4% of variation in reported suicidal ideation at intake. The discussion focused on the importance of conducting a thorough assessment of suicidal ideation in refugees and survivors of torture.
Since 2001, Palestinian militants have launched thousands of mortar and missile attacks directed against the southern part of Israel, particularly the Gaza area. Most of the attacks have been directed against urban centres, including the town of Sderot, and the smaller agricultural communities such as kibbutzim and moshavim. While these communities are intended to be self-supporting with a high level standard of living for residents, the damage from the attacks, as well as political uncertainty, has overshadowed life in Gaza.
As of 2014, there have been fifty fatalities and more than 1900 people injured from the rocket attacks. Still, the greatest damage from comes from the widespread disruption of life in Gaza as well as the uncertainty surrounding future attacks. Medical studies of people living in Sderot and neighbouring centres have found that almost half of all young people experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as elevated rates of depression and medical conditions linked to stress.
In describing the emotional problems linked to living in areas affected by chronic violence, including Gaza, psychologists have referred to this as continuous traumatic stress (CTS). Though many people experiencing the repeated traumas linked to war will have enough resilience to avoid developing full-blown trauma symptoms, coping with CTS often depends on how or where the trauma takes place. This includes war zones where the threat of physical attack remains very real and a state of "permanent emergency" exists. Soldiers, U.N. peacekeepers, relief agency workers, people in refugee camps, and even civilians living in these war zones often experience CTS on a daily basis with no relief in sight.
To read more, check out my new Huffington Post blog post.