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Kimhi et al. : Predictors of Community and National Resilience Throughout The COVID-19 Epidemic

Shaul Kimhi, Professor, Stress and Resilience Research Center. Tel-Hai College, Israel. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Hadas Marciano, Ph.D., Stress and Resilience Research Center, Tel-Hai College, and the Ergonomics and Human Factors Unit, University of Haifa. Israel. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Yohanan Eshel, Professor Emeritus, Stress and Resilience Research Center, Tel Hai and University of Haifa, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Israel
Bruria Adini, Ph.D., Head of the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Medicine School of Public Health. | Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.


During the past half year, since the eruption of the coronavirus crisis in Israel, a joint team of researchers from the Stress and Resilience Research Center in Tel-Hai College and the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Medicine, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, continuously studies “Corona time resilience and stress” among a representative sample of Israelis. In the following, we present the main results of three longitudinal measurements of the same participants: the first measurement took place in May 2020 (when the “first wave” of coronavirus in Israel seemed to be receding), the second measurement took place in July 2020 (upon the recurrence of the pandemic, when the government had begun to discuss the renewal of general population restrictions), the third measurement was carried out on October 12-14 2020 (during the second general lockdown). The current study explored the shifts in different resilience and stress indicators among 804 participants (Israeli Jews), who took part in all three measurements. The findings are presented below:
1. A decline in positive indicators
a. Resilience. Resilience refers to the ability of people to successfully withstand difficult experiences (i.e., disasters, wars, etc.) and return to normal daily life after the adversity has ended. Practitioners refer to three types of resilience: Individual Resilience (an example of an Individual Resilience question: “having to cope with stress can make me stronger”), Community Resilience (example: “I trust the local decision-makers”), and National Resilience (example: “I believe that my government will make the right decision during a time of crisis, including during the current Coronavirus crisis”). Former studies indicated that different individuals, communities, and countries hold diverse levels of resilience.
The most prominent finding in our study is the significant and continuous decrease in the national resilience mean (scale 1-6). In contrast, individual resilience as well as community resilience significantly decreased from the first to the second measurement but did not show further decrease in the third measurement.
b. Subjective quality of life - wellbeing
Wellbeing refers to the extent to which the individual assesses his/her subjective quality of life regarding different domains (family, work, social life, etc.; example: “How is your health today during the Coronavirus crisis?”). The mean of the wellbeing measurement significantly decreased throughout the three measurements, with a greater reduction between the second and third measurements.
Hope refers to the assessment or anticipation of the individual that “things are going to become better”. Hope expresses an expectation for a better future (example: "I hope that I will emerge strengthened from the coronavirus crisis"). The mean of the hope measurement significantly decreased throughout all three measurements.
Morale refers to a general measure of the individuals’ current mood, and has a strong link to functioning during daily life as well as during crises. The mean level of morale

measurement decreased throughout all three measurements but the reduction between the second and third measurements was moderated and insignificant.
2. An increase in negative measurements
Stress symptoms (depression and anxiety)
Stress refers to all types of responses (emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical) of individuals when facing difficult events, such as illness, natural disasters, wars, getting fired, etc. The intensity and type of stress reactions vary among different people. These differences stem from many factors, including life experience, genetics, and environmental influence. In the current study, we measured depression and anxiety feelings (for example: "to what extent have you recently suffered from tension?"). The mean stress symptoms significantly increased from one measurement to the next.
Sense of danger
An example of a question of “sense of danger” is: "to what extent do you feel that your life is in danger?". The mean sense of danger significantly increased from the first to the second measurement but then remained constant.
Perceived threats
We asked the participants to rate the four following threats (“to what extent do you perceive each threat as personally endangering you”): economic, health, security, and political threats. The political threat was perceived by the interrogees as extremely serious and is the only one that clearly increased in all three repeated measurements.
Throughout the three longitudinal measurements of the same 804 participants who responded to a survey during the coronavirus crisis, we found a clear and concerning trend:
• Reduction in resilience indicators, with emphasis on national resilience (which showed the most prominent decrease among the current variables).
• Reduction in subjective quality of life.
• Reduction in levels of hope and morale.
• Increase in stress symptoms (depression, anxiety, and sense of danger) and in various perceived threats.
We believe that the observed trend suggests that the capacity of the Israeli society to cope with the ongoing coronavirus crisis is continuously attenuating. Assuming that this crisis and all of its accompanying aspects (social, political, economic, and health) are not going to disappear in the near future, these findings should concern us all and should motivate decision makers to take them into account when designing the response to the COVID-19 challenges.


Kimhi, S.; Eshel, Y.; Marciano, H.; Adini, B. "Fluctuations in National Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic". Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3876.

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