Israeli researchers have linked rocket attacks to violence.

A study by Ben-Gurion University concluded that chronic exposure to rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel’s Negev desert increased severe adolescent violence. The study, conducted by Golan Shahar with Christopher Henrich from Georgia State University in the United States, said youngsters who repeatedly underwent missile and rocket strikes were more prone to violence.

“Such incidents included: hurting someone so badly in a physical fight that they had to seek medical treatment, being involved in a gang fight, being arrested by the police for a violent crime, and having carried a weapon — most likely, a knife,” Ben-Gurion University said.

On May 29, the university said the two professors monitored 362 Israeli adolescents from 2008 through 2011. The youngsters lived in Israel’s Western Negev, which for more than a decade came under missile and rocket attacks from the neighboring Gaza Strip.

The study, funded partially by the U.S. government and published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, was the first on the influence of missile and rocket attacks on young people. The report said the youngsters were steadily drawn to violence as they continued to come under the threat of attack from the Gaza Strip.

“Levels of severe violence which were relatively low at the beginning of the study, — less than 18 percent — have risen as a function of exposure to rocket attacks, such that each exposure to rocket attacks prior to the commencement of the study has predicted a 2.5 increase in the likelihood of involvement in severe violence,” the university said.

The researchers said they were aided by authorities in the Western Negev. Shahar said authorities were concerned by the psychological repercussions of what for years marked daily attacks by the Hamas regime and its Palestinian militia allies.

“It is in light of these efforts that our findings regarding the effect of exposure to rockets on adolescent violence are so alarming,” Shahar said.