Matter of will: The association between posttraumatic stress symptoms and the will-to-live

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined how posttraumatic-stress-symptoms presented after prolonged traumatic exposure to rocket attacks are related to the perception of the worthiness of life among individuals in the second half of their lives. Additionally, it was questioned whether the subjective evaluation of the time one has left to live affects this relationship. Using an in-region random digit dialing methodology, phone calls made to residents in the south of Israel, we sampled 339 community-dwelling older adults (age range 50–90; M=65.44, SD=9.77) in Wave 1, 170 of whom were interviewed again in Wave 2 about a year later. Participants completed a phone-questionnaire on posttraumatic-stress-symptoms, subjective nearness-to-death, and will-to-live. The cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses results showed that higher levels of posttraumatic-stress-symptoms were positively related to higher will-to-live in both waves, among individuals who felt further away from death, while higher levels of posttraumatic-stress-symptoms were negatively related or unrelated to lower will-to-live among those who felt close to death in Waves 1and 2, respectively. The findings emphasize that perceptions regarding one's future perspective may affect the quality of the relationship between posttraumatic-stress-symptoms and will-to-live. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Older adults
  • Posttraumatic stress symptoms
  • Subjective nearness-to-death
  • Will-to-live

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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