The Impact of Bombing Attacks on Civilians in Iraq

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International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling


Research on the effects of experiencing a bomb attack has yielded considerable literature on related mental health matters. However, there is a paucity of studies looking at the psychological consequences and mental health effects following bombing attacks specifically in relation to civilians in Iraq. This qualitative study involving 11 adults (M = 6, F = 5) aimed to investigate how people who had experienced a potentially trauma inducing event of being in a bomb attack made sense of the experience and attempted to cope with it. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and transcripts analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith and Osborn 2003). Four overarching themes emerged: 1) mental and physical health problems, 2) interpersonal relationship issues, 3) changes in attachment, and 4) attempts to cope. Participants revealed that exposure to a bomb attack had a major effect on their psychological well-being and also fragmented their personal relationships. Nevertheless, a variety of coping strategies were identified. The study adds to an understanding of how psychological difficulties continue and affect recovery. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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