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Life in a continuous traumatic situation: perspective of the older population


The literature is divided with regard to how older persons cope with traumatic situations of war and terror, and few studies have focused on continuous exposure to traumatic situations. To fill the gap in existing knowledge, the present study examined how older people cope with a continuous security threat which includes periods of intensive attacks. Three focus groups were conducted among older residents of rural localities situated near the Israeli border with Gaza. Content analysis of transcripts from the group sessions revealed four main aspects that concern the older participants when they cope with situations of war: (a) moral issues; (b) emotional issues; (c) intergenerational issues; and (d) resilience and future challenge. The analysis revealed that the older participants’ coping patterns derive from a combination of their stage of life, the changing lifestyle in their communal rural localities, and the ways that the older residents and younger residents of the communities cope with exposure to a continuous security threat. The theoretical framework for discussion of the findings is based on social theories of trauma and resilience. In addition, recommendations are provided for interventions at the individual and community levels.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, School of Social Work, Sapir College, D.N. Hof Ashkelon, 7915600, Israel
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Ageing & Society
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