Karen Yirmiya

Karen Yirmiya is a PhD student in the Psychology Department at Bar-Ilan University. Her study focuses on identifying resiliency and vulnerability factors related to the development of  psychopathology among children exposed to ongoing terrorism threats. Karen examines the effects of environmental and biological factors on the mental condition of children living near the Gaza Strip, compared to children living elsewhere in Israel. The children were monitored for more than a decade, from infancy to adolescence, with the aim of elucidating the contribution of parent-child relationships, as well as hormones related to stress (cortisol) and affiliation (oxytocin), to the development of psychopathology given prolonged exposure to trauma. Karen's study is unique in its longitudinal follow-up of children exposed to the same trauma through various developmental stages in their lives, combining biological, neurological, psychological, and psychiatric approaches. Through her research, she hopes to improve the understanding and early identification risk factors associated with subsequent trauma-related psychopathology.