Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Mental suffering in protracted political conflict: feeling broken or destroyed
Authors: Barber, Brian 
McNeely, Clea A. 
El Sarraj, Eyad 
Daher, Mahmoud 
Giacaman, Rita 
Arafat, Cairo 
Barnes, William 
Abu Mallouh, Mohammed 
Keywords: Mental illness - Political aspects - Palestine;Community Mental Health Services - Organization and administration - Palestine;Aggression - Psychological aspects - Palestine;War - Psychological aspects - Palestine
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: Purpose This mixed-methods exploratory study identified and then developed and validated a quantitative measure of a new construct of mental suffering in the occupied Palestinian territory: feeling broken or destroyed. Methods Group interviews were conducted in 2011 with 68 Palestinians, most aged 30–40, in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip to discern local definitions of functioning. Interview participants articulated of a type of suffering not captured in existing mental health instruments used in regions of political conflict. In contrast to the specific difficulties measured by depression and PTSD (sleep, appetite, energy, flashbacks, avoidance, etc.), participants elaborated a more existential form of mental suffering: feeling that one’s spirit, morale and/or future was broken or destroyed, and emotional and psychological exhaustion. Participants articulated these feelings when describing the rigors of the political and economic contexts in which they live. We wrote survey items to capture these sentiments and administered these items—along with standard survey measures of mental health—to a representative sample of 1,778 32–43 year olds in the occupied Palestinian territory. The same survey questions also were administered to a representative subsample (n = 508) six months earlier, providing repeated measures of the construct. Results Across samples and time, the feeling broken or destroyed scale: 1) comprised a separate factor in exploratory factor analyses, 2) had high inter-item consistency, 3) was reported by both genders and in all regions, 4) showed discriminate validity via moderate correlations with measures of feelings of depression and trauma-related stress, and 5) was more commonly experienced than either feelings of depression or trauma-related stress. Conclusions Feeling broken or destroyed can be reliably measured and distinguished from conventional measures of mental health. Such locally grounded and contextualized measures should be identified and included in assessments of the full impact of protracted political conflict on functioning.
Appears in Collections:Fulltext Publications

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat
Mental-suffering-in-protracted-political-conflict-Feeling-broken-or-destroyedPLoS-ONE.pdf257.23 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Show full item record

Page view(s)

checked on Jun 27, 2024


checked on Jun 27, 2024

Google ScholarTM


Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.