How Does Parenthood Moderate Paths Between Personal and Community Resources and Distress following Collective Trauma?

Lea Zanbar, Rachel Dekel, Navit Ben-Tzur, Krzysztof Kaniasty, Chaya Possick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study examines the moderating role of parenthood in associations between personal and community resources and psychological distress and somatization following collective exposure to security threats. The research questions were guided by Terror Management Theory that posits that parenthood involves heightened anxiety when children are in danger yet may also provide an existential resource that can reduce the individuals’ distress. The study was conducted following the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict and included 1014 Israelis. The participants completed a questionnaire assessing levels of trauma exposure (the predictors), sense of mastery (personal resource), engagement in community activities and trust in leaders (community resources), and psychological distress and somatization (the outcomes). Results indicated that parenthood moderated several associations between trauma exposure and personal and community resources as well as paths between these resources and psychological distress. In almost all these cases, these paths were statistically significant only among parents in two different directions. Parenthood was associated with more psychological distress through lower sense of mastery and greater engagement in community activities. On the other hand, parenthood was related to lower psychological distress through greater trust in local leaders. In addition, only among parents, lower levels of mastery mediated the association between trauma exposure and somatization. These results offer significant implications for practitioners. Although parents and non-parents can be similarly affected by trauma exposure with respect to trauma-related outcomes, the way to assist them to reduce these negative outcomes should be conducted through different paths involving their personal and community resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1164
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Collective trauma
  • Parenthood
  • Personal and community resources
  • Psychological distress
  • Somatization


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