The contribution of school experience to students' resilience following a terror-related homicide

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Abstract

Schools have a significant effect on students' development, and serve as important social agencies for interventions for students facing disasters. However, little is known about the effect of students' school experience itself on their resilience when facing extreme negative events. The present study focused on students who were exposed to terror-related homicide with the aim of investigating the contribution of school climate resources to their resilience. Since resilience is associated not only with fewer negative outcomes, but also with positive change, the contribution of schools was studied as both inhibiting post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTS) and enhancing post-traumatic growth (PTG). A mixed-methods research design was used. The participants included 117 (52% girls) high school students (mean age = 14.54; SD = 1.49). Twenty-five of them were interviewed in addition to responding to the research questionnaires. Different aspects of the school climate were found to be associated with students' PTS and PTG, yielding two overarched factors explaining the school's role as a protective resource: sheltering and supporting. The former is associated with fewer PTS and the latter with higher PTG. The use of different resources for different forms of resilience is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Union of Psychological Science

Keywords

  • Homicide
  • Post-traumatic growth
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • School climate
  • Students

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