Prolonged Exposure to Violence: Psychiatric Symptoms and Suicide Risk Among College Students in the Palestinian Territory

Date
2021-11-01
Authors
Hamdan, Sami
Hallaq, Eyad
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Abstract
Objective: Little is known about the risk for suicide in those exposed to prolonged political and domes- tic violence. Thus, this study aims to explore suicidal ideation and attempts in a community sample of Palestinian students and identify the extent to which clinical variables are associated with suicidal idea- tion. Method: A cross-sectional design was utilized in this study, and 303 college and university stu- dents aged 18 to 23 from seven campuses in the Palestinian territory voluntarily and anonymously completed self-report questionnaires that assessed 12 months of suicidal ideation and attempts, posttrau- matic stress symptoms (PTSS), depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. Results: The results showed high rates of suicidal ideation and attempts within the last 12 months. Severe symptoms of PTSS, depression, and sleep problems were reported compared with other college samples. An exploratory path analysis showed that PTSS is directly associated with suicidal ideation and indirectly by its associa- tion with sleep problems and depressive symptoms. Conclusion: The results highlight the elevated men- tal health difficulties of students living under prolonged exposure to violence and could be helpful to policy and decision-makers in health care and academic institutions in implementing and design inter- ventions aim to reduce depression and PTSS. Screening for PTSS and depression is a vital first step in suicide prevention efforts in college students exposed to trauma. Future studies should assess the types of traumatic stress exposure and health risk behaviors to offer a more in-depth view.
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Keywords
suicidal ideation, trauma, depression
Citation
Hamdan, S., & Hallaq, E. (2021). Prolonged exposure to violence: Psychiatric symptoms and suicide risk among college students in the Palestinian territory. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 13(7), 772–782.