Youth Exposed to Terrorism: the Moderating Role of Ideology


The present review examines the moderating role of ideology on the effects of war, armed conflict, and terrorism on youth. Ideology is an important factor given the central role played by religio-political ideology and nationalism in present-day conflicts. Ideologies or worldviews represent cognitive frameworks that imbue the traumatic situation with meaning and order. Analysis of the pool of studies identified three categories of ideologically based moderating factors, each representing an aspect of social construction of traumatic events, namely, religion, political ideology, and self-concept. The two closely related categories of religion and politico-religious beliefs showed both positive and negative effects on psychological and psychiatric outcomes among youth. The third category of different aspects of self-concept yielded consistently positive moderating effects. The mechanisms by which each category of ideology moderates effects of exposure to war, armed conflict, and terrorism are discussed, and research and clinical implications are presented.

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Correspondence to Michelle Slone.

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Michelle Slone, Lia Shur, and Ayelet Gilady declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry

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Slone, M., Shur, L. & Gilady, A. Youth Exposed to Terrorism: the Moderating Role of Ideology. Curr Psychiatry Rep 18, 44 (2016).

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  • Terrorism
  • Ideology
  • Religion
  • Political ideology
  • Self-concept