Does War Beget Child Aggression? Military Violence, Gender, Age and Aggressive Behavior in Two Palestinian Samples


Qouta, Samir, Raija-Leena Punamäki, Thomas Miller, and Eyad El-Sarraj. 2008. “Does War Beget Child Aggression? Military Violence, Gender, Age and Aggressive Behavior in Two Palestinian Samples.” Aggressive Behavior 34 (3): 231–44.

Authors: Samir Qouta, Raija-Leena Punamäki, Thomas Miller, Eyad El-Sarraj


[Qouta et al] examined, first, the relations between children's exposure to military violence and their aggressive behavior and the role of age and gender in that relation in two Palestinian samples. Second, [Qouta et al] tested parenting practices as a moderator of the relation between exposure to military violence and aggressive behavior, and third, whether exposure to military violence of different nature (direct victimization versus witnessing) has specific associations with different forms of aggression (reactive, proactive and aggression-enjoyment). Study I was conducted in a relatively calm military-political atmosphere in Palestine-Gaza, and included 640 children, aged 6–16 years whose parents (N=622) and teachers (N=457) provided reports. Older children (≥12 years) provided self-reports (N=211). Study II included 225 Palestinian children aged 10–14-year, who participated during a high-violence period of the Al Aqsa Intifada characterized by air raids, killing and destruction. Results showed that witnessing severe military violence was associated with children's aggressive and antisocial behavior (parent-reported) in study I, and with proactive, reactive and aggression-enjoyment (child-reported) in the study II. As hypothesized, good and supporting parenting practices could moderate the link between exposure to military violence and aggressive behavior.

Keywords: trauma, military violence, aggression, Palestinians, children

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Mental Health, Trauma Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2008

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