Low resilience, elevated PTSD symptoms linked to ISIS anxiety

A new study examines the characteristics of individuals who are most likely to have anxiety concerning threats posed by ISIS.

In the study of 1007 adult Israelis, being female, having a lower socio-economic status, and having elevated levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were related to ISIS anxiety. Exposure to ISIS in the media and having low resilience were also linked to ISIS anxiety. Finally, the PTD-ISIS relationship was especially pronounced when the mental resources of resilience and optimism were low. Resilienceis defined mainly as a resource aimed at dealing with a current threat, while optimism is defined as a resource related to future outcomes.

"The findings may have important implications for addressing heightened anxiety in the event of elevated terrorist threats in terms of showing that exposure to ISIS media is detrimental to one's mental health and increases ISIS anxiety beyond one's level of general anxiety," said Dr. Yaakov Hoffman, author of the Stress and Health article. "Furthermore, the results may suggest that increasing one's optimism and resilience may mitigate the ISIS threat sensitivity, especially in individuals with PTSD symptoms."

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