update deskIsrael at War

23% of Israeli Jews suffer PTSD after Oct. 7 attack

The figure is three times that which Americans in New York City experienced following the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Children play at the Sha’ar HaNegev Resilience Center, where more than 200 children were being treated for trauma and PTSD caused by attacks from the Gaza Strip. 2020. Source: Sha’ar HaNegev Resilience Center/Facebook.
Children play at the Sha’ar HaNegev Resilience Center, where more than 200 children were being treated for trauma and PTSD caused by attacks from the Gaza Strip. 2020. Source: Sha’ar HaNegev Resilience Center/Facebook.

Nearly a quarter of Israeli Jews suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder following Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion, a study released on Sunday shows.

Some 23% of Jewish adults surveyed who were not directly exposed to the surprise attack suffer from PTSD, the Tel Aviv University research found.

The figure is three times that which Americans in New York City experienced following the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the study found.

The research confirms that following the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Israelis’ mental stress has skyrocketed, and they are less active and sleep less.

The high incidence of PTSD in Israel is attributed to increased news consumption, and especially to the availability of gruesome videos of the massacre on social media.

“The pervasive circulation of explicit and unfiltered graphic content, including videos of horrific acts across various media channels, may contribute to a rise in PTSD rates among individuals indirectly exposed to traumatic events,” said Tel Aviv University professor Dan Yamin.

Data based on 752,057 daily questionnaires filled out by nearly 5,000 participants revealed that stress levels after Oct. 7 were unprecedented and far exceeded those observed during previous events.

These include the deadliest and most contagious COVID-19 wave, during which 30% of the Israeli population tested positive over a short period of three months; widespread political protests sparked by the government’s judicial reform initiative, culminating in the dismissal of an Israeli minister and massive labor and company strikes; and intense military engagements, with more than 1,000 rockets fired from Gaza towards Israeli communities.

The research is based on two sub-studies. The first is a prospective study that began in November 2020 and included approximately 5,000 participants who were equipped with smartwatches that daily monitored changes in their mental and physiological indices.

In addition, the researchers conducted a survey among the aforementioned participants and among 2,537 panel participants who constituted a representative sample of adult Jewish Israelis, which included questionnaires on PTSD and clinical anxiety, as well as about news consumption and watching videos containing horrific images in the week after Oct. 7.

The data from the prospective study also showed that since the start of the war, there has been a significant decrease in the reported mood level of the smartwatch-equipped participants (from 3.67 to 2.81 on a scale of 1-5); in physical activity as reflected in the number of daily steps (from 7,881 to 6,110 steps per day); and in the reported quality of sleep (from 3.5 to 3.11 on a scale of 1-5), which was accompanied by a significant increase in time awake during sleep (from 591.91 to 681.17 seconds).

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates