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2006-06-27-Evacuation Stress

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Amir Gilat



Researchers found pre-traumatic stress
 among Gaza settlers before evacuation
,  June 27, 2006

By Amir Gilat

HAIFA—Harsh figures regarding the mental state of the evacuated settlers from Gaza Strip, eve of the disengagement plan led by the Israeli government, were exposed in a new study conducted by the National Security Center in the University of Haifa . 54% of the respondents reported difficulty in concentration and memory and 81% reported that the mere thought of the disengagement plan causes them anxiety and emotional stress.

Prof. Steven Hobfoll and Dr. Daphna Canetti-Nisim who studied the 'psychological and political effects of the disengagement plan on the settlers' in collaboration with Eran Hallperin and Oren Shapira, pointed out that at the eve of the evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, 27.6% suffered from symptoms that characterize post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), 42.5% suffered moderate to high degrees of depressive symptoms. "These figures are unusually high", state the researchers, who emphasized that a deeper inspection of the respondents' answers mirrors the magnitude of the psychological desolation the settlers had suffered just prior to the disengagement.

Prof. Hobfoll noted that a considerable proportion of the respondents reported general performance disruptions and interferences with their daily routine following the disengagement. 62% of the settlers invested immense efforts to prevent such thoughts.

The study was carried out by means of telephone interviews amid 190 Jewish settlers, 75% of which were married with children, 42.9% had over five children. 75.5% defined themselves as 'right wing' and 9.6% as 'extreme right wing'.

Amir Gilat  is the head of communication and media relations  for the University of Haifa's Department of External Affairs.