Israeli Study Reveals Faith in Iron Dome, Resilience Can Reduce Post-Trauma in Civilians Exposed to Hamas Rocket-Fire
A new Israeli study found that belief in the effectiveness of the Iron Dome missile defense system and inner resilience can reduce the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Israeli civilians affected by Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014.
Researchers at Bar-Ilan University published results of the study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, which was based on an examination of Israelis residing within Hamas rocket-range during the war.
According to Bar-Ilan University, questionnaires were administered to more than 1,250 adults during the period between December 2014 and January 2015. The results showed that even at high exposure levels to rocket attack, trauma symptoms did not increase for resilient subjects who also had confidence in Iron Dome.
“We know that psychological resilience — an inner trait that results in positive adaptation to trauma — typically reduces the detrimental effects of trauma exposure on PTSD symptoms,” said Dr. Yaakov Hoffman, of Bar-Ilan University’s Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, the lead author of the study. “But what we found here is that resilience can be strengthened when coupled with a second factor, namely one’s belief in the external protection provided by Iron Dome. Another interesting point is that the Iron Dome system not only saved lives but was also associated with reduced PTSD symptoms, possibly by enhancing one’s sense of safety.”
Additional authors of the study include Sara Cohen-Fridel, of Bar-Ilan’s Churgin School of Education, Prof. Ehud Bodner, of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences and Department of Music, and Dr. Ephraim Grossman and Dr. Amit Shrira, of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences.
Nine Iron Dome batteries were deployed during Operation Protective Edge, with the system intercepting more than 90 percent of rockets, mortars and missiles fired at population centers in Israel, according to the IDF.
Initial development and funding of the Iron Dome was undertaken by Israel, which deployed the first two batteries in 2011, but additional batteries have been paid for by the United States.