The children of mothers exposed to terror attacks during pregnancy are 2.5 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than mothers not to exposed to terror during pregnancy. This was the finding of a comprehensive study undertaken at the University of Haifa. “It is possible that the psychosocial stress of terror attacks in the mothers occurred during a critical period of fetal brain development. Insults during such a critical period of neurodevelopment were so potent that years later the risk of schizophrenia increased.” explained Prof. Stephen Levine, one of the authors of the study.
Previous studies have found that exposure to terror attacks through television – i.e. the media reporting of terror incidents in which the individual was not personally involved – cause the damage and loss of psychological resources. In the present study, the researchers sought to examine whether babies born to mothers exposed to terror attacks, but not involved in them, faced an elevated risk of schizophrenia.