Hall, J. Brian. Hobfoll, Strevan. Canetti, Daphna. Johnson, Robert. Galea, Sandro. (2009). The Defensive Nature of Benefit Finding During Ongoing Terrorism: An Examination of a National Sample of Israeli Jews. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 28 (8), 993-1021.
A study examining the effects of terrorism on a national sample of 1,136 Jewish adults was conducted in Israel via telephone surveys, during the Second Intifada. The relationship between reports of positive changes occurring subsequent to terrorism exposure (i.e., Benefit finding), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, and negative outgroup attitudes toward Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCI) was examined. Benefit finding was related to greater PTSD symptom severity. Further, Benefit finding was related to greater threat perception of PCI and ethnic exclusionism of PCI. Findings were consistent with hypotheses derived from theories of outgroup bias and support the anxiety buffering role of social affiliation posited by terror management theory. This study suggests that benefit finding may be a defensive coping strategy when expressed under the conditions of ongoing terrorism and external threat.