Current Psychiatry Reports

, 21:83 | Cite as

Supportive Relationships in Children and Adolescents Facing Political Violence and Mass Disasters

  • Gil Aba
  • Stephanie Knipprath
  • Golan ShaharEmail author
Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry (B Pfefferbaum, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry


Purpose of Review

We identify trends and gaps in the literature on the role of social support in the psychopathology and risky behavior of youths exposed to political violence and mass disasters. We also discuss the implications of recent research’s findings and suggest directions for future research.

Recent Findings

Political violence and natural disasters inflict serious blows to adolescents’ mental and physical health and may have reverberating, negative impacts throughout the nested social systems in which youths develop. However, many adolescents are not adversely affected, suggesting the presence of resilience. While the beneficial effects of social support from close others are well documented, along with situations under which perceived support may even increase stress, the exact mechanisms behind social support’s protective effects have not been thoroughly studied. Different personality attributes and/or different concepts of the self may possibly contribute to—or harm—youths’ resilience.


There is considerable variability in research on adolescents’ social support in the context of political violence and mass disasters, stressors that may erode social support. Thus, further investigation of social support’s protective effects via longitudinal studies is highly important.


Adolescents Social support Stress buffering hypothesis Political violence Mass disasters 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Gil Aba, Stephanie Knipprath, and Golan Shahar each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael

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