Somatization and psychiatric symptoms among hospital nurses exposed to war stressors

Menachem Ben-Ezra, Yuval Palgi, Amit Shrira, Yaira Hamama-Raz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Research regarding nurses' reactions during armed conflict is scarce. The current study compared somatization and psychiatric symptoms of exposed and unexposed hospital nurses in two studies. Method: Two studies were conducted during 2009 and included a survey of two random samples of hospital nurses (exposed vs. unexposed), one conducted during the Gaza War, and the other conducted six months later. The design was repeated cross-sectional study. Results: In Study 1, exposed nurses had higher level of PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms and psychosomatic symptoms. In Study 2, exposed nurses did not differ from unexposed nurses in the level of PTSD symptoms and depressive symptoms. However, in Study 2, unexposed nurses reported a higher level of psychosomatic symptoms (10.68 vs 5.62) compared to the exposed group. Moreover, multivariate analysis of covariance revealed a significant interaction effect of Exposure X Study (F = 12.838; p < 0.001; ηp2 =.076; Observed power = 0.945) for somatization. Conclusions: These results are in line with Selye's general adaptation syndrome and the allostatic model. This may suggest that nurses exposed to continuous severe stress that ended and then returned from the exhaustion phase back to daily work stress may have undergone an oscillation period (distress to Eustress).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


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