Purpose of Review
This paper reviews the extant research on the effects of contact with terrorism media coverage on psychological outcomes in youth in the context of chronic threat and conflict in Israel.
The extant research is inconclusive with respect to the relationship between media contact and a variety of psychological outcomes in Israeli studies of youth exposed to ongoing threat and repeated terrorist attacks.
Additional research is needed to examine potential differences in outcomes and the factors that influence youth coping and adaptation in an environment of chronic threat and extensive media coverage. Moreover, studies are needed to identify and evaluate potential parental, professional, and social strategies to enhance youth adjustment. Because political conflict in Israel is not likely to abate in the near future, the setting is ideal to conduct methodologically rigorous research including research using representative samples, prospective reporting, and longitudinal design.
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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
• Houston JB. Media coverage of terrorism: a meta-analytic assessment of media use and posttraumatic stress. Journal Mass Commun Q. 2009;86(4):844–61. https://doi.org/10.1177/107769900908600408. This meta-analysis of 23 studies of terrorism media coverage and posttraumatic stress outcomes found a significant effect. Effects were greater for studies examining posttraumatic stress symptoms or reactions relative to those examining posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for studies examining coverage through multiple media forms relative to those limited to television coverage, for studies of youth rather than adults, and for studies of samples located further from the event relative to samples within the city where the event occurred.
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• Braun-Lewensohn O. Coping and social support in children exposed to mass trauma. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015;17(6):46. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-015-0576-y. This paper reviewed studies of youth coping in the context of mass trauma published between the years 2011 and 2014 and proposed a comprehensive model for better understanding the process of coping with these events. The paper recommends that future research emphasize the youth’s developmental stage, the cultural context and environment in which the youth reside, and the type of event (acute vs. chronic; natural vs. manmade).
The editors would like to thank Dr. Orna Braun-Lewensohn for taking the time to review this manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
Betty Pfefferbaum is a section editor for Current Psychiatry Reports.
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry
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Pfefferbaum, B., Tucker, P., Newman, E. et al. Terrorism Media Effects in Youth Exposed to Chronic Threat and Conflict in Israel. Curr Psychiatry Rep 21, 28 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-1005-4
- Mental health
- Terrorism threat