Canetti, Daphna, Russ, Eric. Luborsky, Judith, Hobfoll, Stevan. Inflamed by the Flames? Terrorism and Stress in the Middle East.
We examined the impact of high levels of exposure to rocket and terrorist attacks on biological markers of immunity and inflammation in a sample of Israelis during a period of high threat. A random sample of individuals were drawn from a pool of subjects in Israel earlier interviewed as to their stress exposure and psychological distress during a period of active rocket attacks. These individuals were re-interviewed and bloodspots were collected to assess antibodies to cytomegalovirus (anti-CMV) and C-reactive protein (CRP). PTSD was significantly related to CRP, controlling for BMI, depression, and exposure to terrorism. Depression scores did not significantly predict CRP (or anti-CMV levels). However, the combined effect of PTSD and depression was significantly related to anti-CMV. The current study is the first to our knowledge to examine how terrorism and rocket attack may impact individuals’ immunity and inflammation, placing them at dual risk for PTSD/depression and physical illness.