Is terror gender-blind? Gender differences in reaction to terror events
This study examines gender differences in posttraumatic vulnerability in the face of the terror attacks that occurred during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. In addition, the contribution of level of exposure, sense of safety, self-efficacy, and coping strategies is assessed.
Participants were 250 men and 262 women, who constitute a representative sample of Israel's adult population. Data were collected via a structured questionnaire consisting of 51 items that were drawn from several questionnaires widely used in the study of trauma.
The findings indicate that women endorsed posttraumatic and depressive symptoms more than men and that, generally, their odds of developing posttraumatic stress symptoms are six times higher than those of men. Results also revealed that women's sense of safety and self-efficacy are lower than men's and that there are gender differences in coping strategies in the face of terror.
Gender differences in vulnerability to terror may be attributable to a number of factors, among these are women's higher sense of threat and lower self-efficacy, as well as their tendency to use less effective coping strategies than men. Level of exposure to terror was ruled out as a possible explanation for the gender differences in vulnerability.
Key wordsgender differences terrorism PTSD coping behavior epidemiology
- 7.Bar-Tal Y, Lurie O, Glick D (1994) The effect of gender on the stress process of Israeli soldiers during the Gulf War. Anxiety Stress Coping Int J 7(3):263–276Google Scholar
- 9.Benight CC, Swift E, Sanger J, Smith A, Zeppelin D (1999) Coping self-efficacy as a mediator of distress following a natural disaster. J Appl Soc Psychol 29(12):2443–2464Google Scholar
- 10.Karanci AN, Alkan N, Askit B, Sucuoglu H, Blata E (1999) Gender differences in psychological distress, coping, social support and related variables following the 1995 Dinar (Turkey) earthquake. N Am J Psychol 1(2):189–204Google Scholar
- 11.Ptacek JT, Smith RE, Dodge KL (1994) Gender differences in coping with stress: when stressor and appraisals do not differ. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 20(4):421–430Google Scholar
- 15.The Central Bureau of Statistics (2001) Statistical abstract of Israel. The Central Bureau of Statistics, JerusalemGoogle Scholar
- 16.Cardena E, Classen K, Spiegel D (1991) Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire. Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CAGoogle Scholar
- 20.Schauben LJ, Frazier PA (1995) Vicarious trauma: the effects on female counselors of working with sexual violence survivors. Psychol Women Q 19(1):49–64Google Scholar
- 21.Saigh PA (1997) A comparative analysis of the future orientation ratings of traumatized youth. In: Saigh PA (ed) Current research on child adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder. Symposium conducted at the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, Montreal CanadaGoogle Scholar
- 23.Bar-Yosef R, Padan-Eisenstrak D (1977) Role system under stress: sex-roles in war. Soc Probl 25:135–145Google Scholar
- 24.Solomon Z (1995) Coping with war-induced stress: the Gulf War and the Israeli response. Plenum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 28.Strobe MS, Strobe W (1983) Who suffers more? Sex differences in depressive symptomatology: a community study. J Health Soc Behav 14:291–299Google Scholar
- 29.Greenglass ER (1995) Gender, work stress, and coping: theoretical implications. J Soc Behav Pers 10(6):121–134Google Scholar