The Relationship of Self-Concept and Social Support to Emotional Distress among Women during War


Hobfoll, Stevan. E., and Perry London. 1986. "The Relationship of Self-Concept and Social Support to Emotional Distress among Women during War." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 4 (2): 189-203.

Authors: Stevan E. Hobfoll, Perry London


Few studies have examined immediate stress resistance during massive crisis. In this paper, 56 Israeli women whose loved ones were mobilized into the Israeli Defence Forces were evaluated as to their coping resources and psychological distress during the first week of the June 1982 Israel-Lebanon conflict. Coping traits (self-esteem and mastery) were negatively related to psychological distress (state anxiety and state depression). These internal coping traits were seen as immediately available to individuals, despite the suddenness of the event. Contrary to predictions, social support was related to greater psychological distress. The unexpected findings for social support are attributed to a "pressure-cooker" effect, whereby war rumors were spread rapidly and women with more intimate relationships were more exposed to the sorrows of others. Alternatively, social support may have been adversive to women with high self-esteem who chose to master life challenges independently. The importance of studying immediate resistance to massive stressors is discussed.

Keywords: anxiety, depression, mental health

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 1986

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at