Mental flexibility as resiliency factor among children exposed to political violence

Authors:
Samir Qouta, Eyad El‐Sarraj, Raija‐Leena Punamäki
Published Online:
15 Oct 2010
DOI:
10.1080/00207590042000010
Pages:
1-7
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 36 Issue 1

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The research focused on mental flexibility versus rigidity in explaining psychological adjustment in the violent conditions of Intifada, and in more peaceful times 3 years later, among 86 Palestinian children. A picture test based on Brunswik (1949) was applied to measure flexible‐rigid cognitive style, and neuroticism, self‐esteem, emotional disorders, and PTSD were used as outcome variables. Results revealed a moderating role of mental flexibility by showing that children were protected from negative long‐term consequences of traumatic events if their perception indicated mental flexibility. However, in the midst of violence mental flexibility was not associated with good psychological adjustment. Mental flexibility was, in turn, determined by environmental and cognitive factors: The more intelligent and the less exposed to traumatic events children were, the higher mental flexibility they showed.

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