Religiosity, Social Support, Self-Control and Happiness as Moderating Factors of Physical Violence among Arab Adolescents in Israel


This study examines the correlation among a number of personal and environmental resources that can reduce violence among Arab adolescents in Israel. These are: religiosity, happiness, social support, and self-control. The participants in the study consisted of 225 Palestinian Arab teenagers living in Israel participated in this study. The participants study in grades 8 and 9, in state schools in the northern part of The Triangle. The findings indicate that all the resources that were examined contribute to reducing the level of violence; in other words, significant negative correlations were found between the level of religiosity, happiness, social support and self-control on the one hand, and the level of violence on the other hand. These findings are consistent with those of other studies conducted elsewhere in the world on different populations (Christian and Jewish, as well as Muslim). The present study and its findings are, however, the first to address the understanding of violence among the populace in question. The findings were discussed in accordance with a number of different theories.

Share and Cite:

Agbaria, Q. (2014) Religiosity, Social Support, Self-Control and Happiness as Moderating Factors of Physical Violence among Arab Adolescents in Israel. Creative Education, 5, 75-85. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.52013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Abdel-Khalek, A. M. (2002). Why do we fear death? The construction and validation of the reasons for death fear scale. Death Studies, 26, 669-680.
[2] Abdel-Khalek, A. M., & Naceur, F. (2007). Religiosity and its association with positive and negative emotions among college students from Algeria. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 10, 159-170.
[3] Agbaria, Q. (2013). Depression among Arab students in Israel: The contribution of religiosity, happiness, social support and self-control. Sociology Study, 3, 721-738.
[4] Agbaria, Q., & Ronen, T. (2010). Self control and a sense of social belonging as moderators of the link between poor subjective wellbeing and aggression, among Arab Palestinian adolescents in Israel. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 1334-1345.
[5] Agbaria, Q., Ronen, T., & Hamama, L. (2012). The link between developmental components (age and gender), need to belong and resources of self-control and feelings of happiness, and frequency of symptoms. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 2018-2027.
[6] Agbaria, Q., & Watad, N. (2011). Religiosity and self-control as related mental welfare of students. 3rd International Virtual Conference, Tel Aviv.
[7] Al-Hajj, M. A. (1996). Identity and orientation among the Arabs in Israel. State, Government and International Relations, Haifa University.
[8] Al-Issa, I. (2000). Al-Junun: Mental illness in the Islamic world. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc.
[9] Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 27-51.
[10] Antonucci, T. C., & Akiyama, H. (1994). Convoys of attachment and social relations in children, adolescents and adults. In F. Nestmann, & K. Hurrerlmann (Eds.), Social networks and social support in childhood and adolescence (pp. 37-52). New York: Walter de Gruyter.
[11] Argyle, M. (1987). The psychology of happiness. London: Methuen.
[12] Arsenio, W. F., Cooperman, S., & Lover, A. (2000). Affective predictors of preschoolers’ aggression and peer acceptance: Direct and indirect effects. Developmental Psychology, 36, 438-448.
[13] Ash, C., & Huebner, E. S. (2001). Environmental events and life satisfaction reports of adolescents: A test of cognitive mediation. School Psychology International, 22, 320-336.
[14] Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., & Estrada, J. (2008). School violence. In T. Mizrahi & L. E. Davis (Eds.), The encyclopedia of social work. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
[15] Ayduk, O., Mendoza-Denton, R., Mischel, W., Downey, G., Peake, P. K., & Rodriguez, M. (2000). Regulating the interpersonal self: Strategic self-regulation for coping with rejection sensitivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 776-792.
[16] Bandura, A. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[17] Bandura, A., Caprara, V., Barbaranelli, C., Pastorelli, C., & Regalia, C. (2001). Socio cognitive self regulatory mechanisms governing transgressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 125-135.
[18] Benbenishty, R. (2002). Violence in the school system—Interim report on the findings of a survey among students.
[19] Benbenishty, R., & Astor, R. A. (2005). School violence in context: Culture, neighborhood, family, school, and gender. New York: Oxford University Press.
[20] Benbenishty, R., Zeira, A., & Astor, A. (2000). Violence in education: Summary report for 1999-1998. Jerusalem: Hebrew University.
[21] Benbenishty, R., Khoury-Kassabri, M., & Astor, R. (2006). Research Group: Mental health and well-being of Children and adolescents. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, School of Social Work.
[22] Beck, U. (1995). Ecological politics in the age of risk. Cambridge: Polity Press.
[23] Benhorin, S., & McMahon, S. D. (2008). Exposure to violence and aggression: Protective roles of social support among urban African American youth. Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 723-743.
[24] Bishop, J., & Inderbitzen, H. (1995). Peer acceptance and friendship: An investigation of their relation to self-esteem. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 15, 476-489.
[25] Blair, K., Denham, S., Kochanoff, A., & Whipple, B. (2004). Playing it cool: Temperament, emotion regulation, and social behavior in preschoolers. Journal of School Psychology, 42, 419-443.
[26] Blyth, D. A., Hill, J. P., & Theil, K. (1982). Early adolescents’ significant others: Grade and gender differences in perceived relationships with familial and non-familial adults and young people. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 11, 425-450.
[27] Bolger, N., Zuckerman, A., & Kessler, R. C. (2000). Invisible support and adjustment to stress. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 79, 953-961.
[28] Buss, A., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 452-459.
[29] Callahan, M. R., Tolman. R. M., & Saunders, D. G. (2003). Adolescent dating violence victimization and psychological well-being. Journal of Adolescent Research, 18, 664-681.
[30] Chen, J. K., & Wei, H. S. (2013). School violence, social support and psychological health among Taiwanese junior high school students. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37, 252-262.
[31] Cicchetti, D., Ackerman, B. P., & Izard, C. E. (1995). Emotions and emotion regulation in developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 1-10.
[32] Cohen, L. H., Hettler, T. R., & Park, C. L. (1997). Social support, personality, and life stress adjustment. In G. R. Pierce, B. Lakey, I. G. Sarason, & B. R. Sarason (Eds.), Sourcebook of social support and personality (pp. 215-228). New York: Plenum.
[33] Cohen, S., & Edwards, J. R. (1989). Personality characteristics as moderators of the relationship between stress and disorder. In R. W. J. Neufeld (Ed.), Advances in the investigation of psychological stress (pp. 235-283). New York: Wiley.
[34] Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310-357.
[35] Cohen, S., & McKay, G. (1984). Social support, stress and the buffering hypothesis: A theoretical analysis. In A. Baum, S. E. Taylor, & J. E. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of psychology and health (pp. 253-267). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[36] Cotterell, J. (1994). Analyzing the strength of supportive ties in adolescent social supports. In F. Nestmann, & K. Hurrelmann (Eds.), Social networks and social support in childhood and adolescence (pp. 257267). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
[37] Crick, N. R., & Dodge, K. A. (1996). Social information-processing mechanisms on reactive and proactive aggression. Child Development, 67, 993-1002.
[38] Crick, N. R., & Dodge, K. A. (1994). A review and reformulation of social information-processing mechanisms in children’s social adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 74-101.
[39] Davis, T. L., Kerr, B. A., & Robinson Kurpius, S. E. (2003). Meaning, purpose, and religiosity in at-risk youth: The relationship between anxiety and spirituality. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 31, 356365.
[40] Denson, T. F., Capper, M. M., Oaten, M., Friese, M., & Schofield, T. P. (2011). Self-control training decreases aggression in response to provocation in aggressive individuals. Journal of Research in Personality, 45, 252-256.
[41] Diener, E. (2009). The science of well-being—The collected works of Ed Diener. Dordrecht: Springer.
[42] Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575.
[43] Diener, E., & Clifton, D. (2002). Life satisfaction and religiosity in broad probability samples. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 206-209.
[44] Dodge, K. A., & Coie, J. D. (1987). Social information-processing factors in reactive and proactive aggression in children’s peer groups. Special issue: Integrating personality and social psychology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1146-1158.
[45] Dodge, K. A., Laird, R., Lochman, J. E., & Zelli, A. (2002). Multidimensional latent-construct analysis of children’s social information processing patterns: Correlations with aggressive behavior problems. Psychological Assessment, 14, 60-73.
[46] Dollard, J., Doob, L. W., Miller, N. E., Mowrer, O. H., & Sears, R. R. (1939). Frustration and aggression. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
[47] Ellison, C. G. (1991). Religious involvement and subjective well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32, 80-99.
[48] Falbo, T., & Shcppcrd, J. A. (1986). Self-righteousness: Cognitive, power and religious characteristics. Journal of Research in Personality, 20, 145-157.
[49] Fife, B. L. (2005). The role of constructed meaning in adaptation to the onset of life-threatening illness. Social Science and Medicine, 61, 2132-2143.
[50] Fordyce, M. W. (1988). A review of research on the happiness measures: A sixty second index of happiness and mental health. Social Indicators Research, 20, 355-381.
[51] Gartner, J., Larson, D., & Allen, G. (1991). Religious commitment and mental health: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 19, 6-25.
[52] Glenn, N. D., & Weaver, C. N. (1978). A multi-variat, multi-survey study of marital happiness. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 40, 269-282.
[53] Gottlieb, N. H., & Green, L. W. (1984). Life events, social network, life-style, and health: An analysis of the 1979 national survey of personal health practices and consequences. Health Education & Behavior, 11, 91-105.
[54] Greenbaum, C., Erlich, C., & Toubiana, Y. (1993). Settler children and the Gulf War. In N. A. Fox, & L. A. Leavitt (Eds.), The psychological effects of war and violence on children (pp. 109-130). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[55] Gyurak, A., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia buffers against rejection sensitivity via emotion control. Emotion, 8, 458-467.
[56] Harris, J. I., Schoneman, S. W., & Carrera, S. R. (2002). Approaches to religiosity related to anxiety among college students. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 5, 253-265.
[57] Headey, B. W., & Wearing, A. J. (1989). Personality, life events, and subjective well-being: Towards a dynamic equilibrium model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 731-739.
[58] House, J. S. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
[59] Hubbard, J. A., Dodge, K. A., Cillessen, A. H. N., Coie, J. D., & Schwartz, D. (2001). The dyadic nature of social information processing in boys’ reactive and proactive aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 268-280.
[60] Infante, D. A. (1995). Teaching students to understand and control verbal aggression. Communication Education, 44, 51-63.
[61] Jaffe, K. (1998). Sex, mate selection and evolution. In V. W. Porto, N. Saravanan, D. Waagen, & A. E. Eiben (Eds.), Lecture notes in computer science 1447: Evolutionary programming VII (pp. 483-492). Berlin: Springer Verlag.
[62] Joireman, J., Anderson, J., & Strathman, A. (2003). The aggression paradox: Understanding links among aggression, sensation seeking, and the consideration of future consequences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1287-1302.
[63] Keyes, C. L. M., & Ryff, C. D. (2000). Subjective change and mental health: A self-concept theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63, 264279.
[64] Klingman, A, Sagi, A., & Raviv, A. (1993). The effect of war on Israeli children. In L. Leavitt, & N. Fox (Eds.), The psychological effects of war and violence on children (pp. 75-92). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
[65] Klingman, A. (2001). Israeli children’s reactions to the assassination of the prime minister. Death Studies, 25, 33-49.
[66] Koenig, H. G., McCullough, M. E., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Handbook of religion and health. New York: Oxford University Press.
[67] Landau, S. F., Bjorkqvist, K., Lagerspetz, K. M. J., Osterman, K., & Gideon, L. (2002). The effect of religiosity and ethnic origin on direct and indirect aggression among males and females: Some Israeli findings. Aggressive Behavior, 28, 281-298.
[68] Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer-Verlog.
[69] Levin, J. S., & Chatters, L. M. (1998). Research on religion and mental health: An overview of empirical findings and theoretical issues. In H. G. Koenig (Ed.), Handbook of religion and mental health (pp. 33-50). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
[70] Lorenz, K. (1966). On aggression (Wilson, M. K., Trans.). New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.
[71] Maltby, J., Lewis, C. A., & Day, L. (1999). Religious orientation and the psychological well-being: The role of the frequency of personal prayer. British Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 363.
[72] Maton, K. I., & Zimmerman, M. A. (1992). Psychosocial predictors of substance use among urban black male adolescents. Drugs and Society, 6, 79-114.
[73] Montemayor, R., & Van Komen, R. (1980). Age segregation of adolescents in and out of school. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 9, 371-381.
[74] Natvig, G. K., Albrektsen, G., & Qvarnstrom, U. (2001). School-related stress experience as a risk factor for bullying behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 561-575.
[75] Pearlin, L. I. (1985). Social structure and processes of social support. In S. Cohen, & S. L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health (pp. 43-60). New York: Academic Press.
[76] Ronen, T., Rahav, G., & Moldavsky, A. (2007). Aggressive behavior among Israeli elementary school students and associated emotional/ behavioral problems and self-control. School Psychology Quarterly, 22, 407-431.
[77] Ronen, T., & Rosenbaum, M. (2010). Developing learned resourcefulness in adolescents to help them reduce their aggressive behavior: Preliminary findings. Research on Social Work Practice, 20, 410-426.
[78] Ronen, T., & Rosenbaum, M. (2001). Helping children to help themselves: A case study of enuresis and nail biting. Research on Social Work Practice, 11, 338-356.
[79] Rosenbaum, M. (1998). Opening versus closing strategies in controlling one’s responses to experience. In M. Kofta, G. Weary, & G. Sedek (Eds.), Personal control in action: Cognitive and motivational mechanisms (pp. 61-84). New York: Plenum Press.
[80] Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J. R., & Snyder, S. S. (1982). Changing the world and changing the self: A two process model of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 5-37.
[81] Samoha, S. (2004). Index of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel 2004. Haifa: The Jewish-Arab Center. (in Hebrew)
[82] Sandler, I. N., Miller, P., Short, J., & Wolchik, S. A. (1989). Social support as a protective factor for children in stress. In D. Belle (Ed.), Children’s social networks and social supports (pp. 277-307). New York: John Wiley.
[83] Sarason, B. R., Sarason, I. G., & Pierce, G. R. (1990). Traditional views of social support and their impact on assessment. In B. R. Sarason, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.), Social support: An interactional view (pp. 9-25). Oxford: Wiley.
[84] Spiegel, D., Bloom, J. R., Kraemer, H. C., & Gottheil, E. (1989). Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet, 334, 888-891.
[85] Steinberg, D. M. (2002). The magic of mutual aid. Social Work with Groups, 25, 31-38.
[86] Suhail, K., & Chaudhry, H. R. (2004). Predictors of subjective wellbeing in an eastern Muslim culture. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 359-376.
[87] Swenson, C. C., & Klingman, A. (1993). Children and war. In C. F. Saylor (Ed.), Children and disasters (pp. 137-163). New York: Plenum Press.
[88] Tangney, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Boone, A. L. (2004). High self control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success. Journal of Personality, 72, 271-324.
[89] Thoresen, C. E., & Mahoney, M. J. (1974). Behavioral self-control. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
[90] Veenhoven, R. (1991). Is happiness relative? Social Indicators Research, 24, 1-34.
[91] Walter, K. H., Gunstad, J., & Hobfoll, S. E. (2010). Self-control predicts later symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 2, 97-101.
[92] Warman, D. M., & Cohen, R. (2000). Stability of aggressive behaviors and children’s peer relationships. Aggressive Behavior, 26, 277-290.<277::AID-AB1>3.0.CO;2-C
[93] Watkins, S. J. (2003). Religiosity and aggression in college students. Electronic Theses and Dissertations, Paper 799.
[94] Weisburd, B., Rosenbaum, M., & Ronen, A. (2009). Sensitivity to rejection and aggression among adolescent and young adolescents. Social and Welfare, 1, 107-131. (in Hebrew)
[95] Witter, R. A., Stock, W. A., Okun, M. A., & Haring, M. J. (1985). Religion and subjective well-being in adulthood: A quantitative synthesis. Review of Religious Research, 26, 332-342.
[96] Wright, L. S., Frost, C. J., & Wisecarver, S. J. (1993). Church attendance, meaningfulness of religion, and depressive symptomatology among adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 22, 559-568.
[97] Wulff, D. M. (1997). Psychology of religion: Classic and contemporary (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
[98] Zeidner, M., Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1993). Hebrew adaptation of the general self-efficacy scale. Health Psychology, 12, 102104.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.