Prof. Muhammad Haj-Yahia

Full Professor
Room 504

Research Interests:

Wife abuse and battering; exposure of children, youth, and young adults to violence in their families of origin; exposure of children and youth to community violence; exposure of children and their parents to political violence;  mental health consequences of child maltreatment; school violence; the socio-cultural and socio-political context of violence against women.


Research Projects:

 Research Projects:


1.      Mental HealthImplications of Exposure to violence: I am currently involved in several research projects on the mental health implications of the exposure of people to different patterns of violence, such as: The cumulative exposure of young adults to family violence during the life-span (i.e., during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood); the exposure of youth to community violence; and the exposure of children and youth and their parents to political violence. I have also examined in some of these studies resilience and protective factors, as buffering and mitigating factors, of the mental health implications of these exposures.

2..Wife Abuse and Battering in Arab Societies: I have been conducting research on different dimensions of the problem of wife abuse and battering in the Arab society (mainly in Israel and the Palestinian National Authority), with special interest in the rates, characteristics, correlates and risk factors, and mental health consequences of the problem as well as battered women’s coping strategies and use of different patterns of help-seeking.   Furthermore, I conducted research on the socio-cultural and socio-political context of violence against women.

3.  Beliefs about Wife Abuse and Battering: I have conducted several studies about beliefs about wife beating, and in recent years am in the process of carrying-out several other research projects on this topic (e.g., justifying wife abuse, willingness to help abused women, etc.) among health and mental health practitioners, among students of the health and mental health professions, as well as among the general public, in several countries. These studies focus on examining to what extent an integrative theory (composed of patriarchal theory, social learning theory, intra-psychic processes, and more) explain people’s beliefs about wife abuse and battering, and their attitudes toward abused women and abusive husbands.

4.      School Violence: I am interested in examining children and youth violence in school, using the social learning theory and the stressful life events perspective. I just completed conducting a study about the exposure of pupils of elementary and secondary schools (as victims as well as perpetrators) and the relationship of this exposure to their exposure to family violence, community violence, and political violence. I also examined in this study the mental health implications of the exposure to these different patterns of violence.


Abstracts of Current Research :

Selected list of Current Research Abstracts:

Wife abuse and battering in the Arab society: Over the past two decades, family violence in general, and wife battering in particular, have become a major concern throughout the world. However, different factors (e.g., socio-cultural, economic, religious, and political circumstances) have precluded comprehensive investigation of this problem in the Arab societies. An Instrument Package was constructed in order to measure the following: (1) the prevalence of various incidents and manifestations of abuse and battering of Arab women in Israel; (2) psychological effects of wife abuse and battering (i.e., stress, low self esteem, depression, anxiety); and (3) strategies used by Arab battered women to cope with violence. About 2102 Arab women participated in the study. It is anticipated that the results of the study will have implications for development of theories for studying wife beating in different Arab communities, for prevention of and intervention in cases of wife abuse and battering, and for setting policies related to wife abuse and battering in the Arab societies.

Implications of witnessing and experiencing family violence among adolescents  and young adults:Despite noteworthy developments in research on the implications of witnessing and experiencing family violence in Western societies, there is a serious dearth of studies on this topic in Arab societies. Two recent studies conducted by this researcher examined the extent to which witnessing and experiencing different patterns of family violence in childhood, adolescencce and young adulthood predict manifestations of sibling violence, hopelessness, and low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, PTSD, hostility and other mental health consequences, among Arab adolescents and young adults. It is hoped that the findings will provide a basis for developing theories for studying the topic in different Arab communities, strategies for prevention and intervention in family violence, and policies for working with abusive families.


Consequences of exposure to community violence: A comparative study among Israeli, Palestinian and American youth (in full collaboration with Dr. Neil Gutermat, at ColumbiaUniversitySchoolof Social Work):Extensive research has been conducted during the last three decades on youth exposure to community violence. However, there is a serious lack of research on the socio-cultural context of this problem. A cross cultural and cross-national study is being carried out among Palestinian, Israeli and American youth, using a self-administered instrument, assessing the extent of their exposure to different types of community violence, the psychological consequences of this exposure, receiving support from family and teachers (as factors that might buffer or intensify the consequences), and youth help-seeking behavior as a result of their exposure to community violence.


Recent Publications:

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2000). The incidence of wife abuse and battering and some sociodemographic correlates as revealed in two national surveys in Palestinian society. Journal of Family Violence, 15(4), 347-374. 

 Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2000). Patterns of violence against engaged Arab women from Israel and some of their psychological implications. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24(3), 209-219.

Haj-Yahia, M.M(2000). Child maltreatment: The approach of Arab social workers in Israel. International Social Work, 43(2), 149-161. (.103; 25/30).

 Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2000). Implications of wife abuse and beating for self-esteem, depression, and anxiety as revealed by the Second Palestinian National Survey on Violence against Women. Journal of Family Issues, 21(4), 435-463.

Eldar-Avidan, D. (S, PI), & Haj-Yahia, M.M. (C) (2000). The experience of formerly battered women with divorce: A qualitative descriptive study. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 32(3/4), 19-40.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(C), Bargal, D. (PI), & Guterman, N.B. (PI) (2000). Perception of job satisfaction, service effectiveness and burnout among Arab social workers in Israel. International Journal of Social Welfare, 9(3), 201-210. 

 Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2000). Wife abuse and battering in the sociocultural context of Arab Society. Family Process, 39(2),237-255.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2000). Wife abuse in the Palestinian Authority. New Global Development: Journal of International and Comparative Social Welfare, 16, 59-73.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(PI), & Ben-Arieh, A. (C) (2000). The incidence of Arab adolescents’ exposure to violence in their families of origin and its sociodemographic correlates. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(10), 1299-1315.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2001). The incidence of witnessing interparental violence and some of its psychological consequences among Arab adolescents. Child Abuse & Neglect, 25(7), 885-907.

 Haj-Yahia, M.M.(PI), & Tamish, S. (C) (2001). The rates of child sexual abuse and its psychological consequences as revealed by a study among Palestinian university students. Child Abuse & Neglect, 25(10), 1303-1327

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(C), & Eldar-Avidan, D. (S, PI) (2001). Formerly battered women: A qualitative study of their experiences in making a decision to divorce and carrying it out. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 36(1/2), 37-65(NR ).

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2002). Attitudes of Arab women toward different patterns of coping with wife abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17(7), 721-745.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(PI), Musleh, K. (C), & Haj-Yahia, Y.M. (C) (2002). The incidence of adolescent maltreatment in Arab society and some of its psychological consequences. Journal of Family Issues, 23(8), 1032-1064.

Astor, R.A. (PI), Benbenishty, R. (PI), Marachi, R. (C), Haj-Yahia, M.M. (PI), Zeira, A. (C), Perkins-Hart, S., & Pitner, R.O. (2002). The awareness of risky peer group behaviors on school grounds as predictors of students’ victimization on school grounds: Part I – elementary schools. Journal of School Violence, 1(1), 11-33.

Astor, R.A. (PI), Benbenishty, R. (PI), Haj-Yahia, M.M. (PI), Marachi, R., Zeira, A. (C), Perkins-Hart, S., & Pitner, R.O. (2002). The awareness of risky peer group behaviors on school grounds as predictors of students’ victimization on school grounds: Part II – junior high schools. Journal of School Violence. 1(3), 57-76.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2002). Beliefs of Jordanian women about wife beating. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26(4), 282-291.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2002). The impact of wife abuse on marital relations as revealed by the Second Palestinian National Survey on Violence Against Women. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(3), 273-285

 Haj-Yahia, M.M.(PI), & Abdo-Kaloti, R. (S) (2003) The exposure of Palestinian adolescents to family violence – Part I: The rates and correlates of the problem. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 781-806 .

 Pitner, R.O (S)., Astor, R.A. (PI), Benbenishty, R. (PI), Haj-Yahia, M.M. (PI), & Zeira, A. (C) (2003). The effects of group stereotypes on adolescents’ reasoning about retribution. Child Development, 74(2), 413-425.

 Pitner, R. (S), Astor, R. (PI), Benbenishty, R. (PI), Haj-Yahia, M. M. (PI), & Zeira, A. (C) (2003). Adolescents' approval of peer and spousal retribution in their culture versus other cultures: The role of group stereotypes.  British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21, 221-242.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.(2003). Beliefs about wife beating among Arab men from Israel: The influence of their patriarchal ideology. Journal of Family Violence, 18(4), 193-206.

Haj-Yahia, M.M. (2005). Can people’s patriarchal ideology predict their beliefs about wife abuse? The case of Jordanian men. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(5), 545-567 (1.147; 6/29, 1).

Khoury-Kassabri, M., Haj-Yahia, M.M., & Ben-Arieh, A. (2006). Adolescents' approach toward children rights: Comparison between Jewish and Palestinian children from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1060-1073.

Marie-Alsana, W., Haj-Yahia, M.M., & Greenbaum, C.W. (2006). Violence among Arab elementary school pupils inIsrael. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(1), 58-88.

Haj-Yahia, M.M., & deZoysa, P.  (2007). Beliefs of Sri Lankan medical students about wife beating. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(1), 26-.

Steinmetz, S., & Haj-Yahia, M.M.  (2006). Definitions of and beliefs about wife abuse among ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from Israel. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(4), 525-554.

Ben-Arieh, A., Khoury-Kassabri, M., &  Haj-Yahia, M.M.  (2006). Generational, ethnic, and national differences in attitudes toward the rights of children in Israel and Palestine. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(3), 381-388.

Ben-Arieh, A., & Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2006). The "geography" of child maltreatment in Israel: Findings from a national data set of cases reported to the social services. Child Abuse & Neglect, 30(9), 991-1003.

Chou, Y.C., Haj-Yahia, M. M., Wang, F.T.Y., & Fu, L. Y.  (2006). Social work in Taiwan: A historical and critical review.International Social Work, 49(6), 767-778.

Attar, S., Benbenishty, R., & Haj-Yahia, M. M.  (2007). Behina empirit shel cli lema'akav ahar matzavam hahitnahaguti-rigshi shel yeladim besikun be’Yisrael [An empirical examination of a measure for following-up after the behavioral-emotional situation of children at risk in Israel]. Hevra Verevaha [Society and Welfare]. 27(1), 79-100.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Schiff, M. (2007). Definitions of and beliefs about wife abuse among undergraduate students of social work. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 51(2), 170-190.

Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2007). Challenges in studying the psychological effects of Palestinian children’s exposure to political violence and their coping with this traumatic experience. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(7), 691-697.

Haj-Yahia, M. M.,  & Uysal, A.  (2008). Beliefs about wife beating among medical students from Turkey. Journal of Family Violence, 23, 119-133.

Haj-Yahia, M.M., & Sadan, E.  (2008). Battered women in collectivist societies: Intervention and empowerment. Hevra Verevaha (Hebrew) [Society and Welfare], 27(3), 423-451.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Sadan, E.  (2008).Issues in intervention with battered women in collectivist societies: An essay.Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 34(1), 1-13.

Haj-Yahia, M.M.& Abdo-Kaloti, R. (2008). Mental health consequences of Palestinian adolescents’ exposure to family violence. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 13(1), 1-41.

Eldar-Avidan, D., Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Greenbaum, C. W.  (2008). Money matters: Young adults' perception of the economic consequences of their parents' divorce. Journal of Family and Economic Issues29, 74-85.

Btoush, R.,  & Haj-Yahia, M. M.  (2008). Attitudes of Jordanian society about wife abuse. Journal of nterpersonal Violence, 23(11), 1531-1554.

Haj-Yahia, M. M.  (2008). Political violence in retrospect: Its effect on the mental health of Palestinian adolescents.International Journal of Behavioral Development32, 283-289.

Ben-Arieh, A., & Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2008). Corporal punishment of    children: a multi-generational perspective. Journal of Family Violence.23 (8), 687-695 (.533; 25/31).

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Attar-Schwartz, S.  (2008).  Attitudes of Palestinian  preschool teachers  from Israel toward reporting of suspected  cases of child abuse and neglect. Child & Family Social Work.13, 378-390.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Lugassi, R. (2008).The implications of experiencing different types of abuse in childhood for psychological distress and intimacy in early adulthood. Hevra Verevaha (Hebrew) [Society and Welfare], 28 (4), 411-440.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & de Zoysa, P.  (2008). Rates and  Psychological effects of  exposure to family violence among Sri Lankan university students. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32(10), 994-1002.

Eldar-Avidan, D.,  Haj-Yahia, M. M.,  & Greenbaum, C. W. (2009). Divorce is part of my life… Resilience, survival and vulnerability: Young adults’ perception of the implications of parental divorce. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy34(4), 539-555.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Cohen, H. H.  (2009). On the lived experience of  battered women residing in shelters. Journal of Family Violence, 24,95-109.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., Tishby, O., & de Zoysa, P.  (2009). Post-traumatic stress  disorder among Sri Lankan university students as a consequence of their exposure to family violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(12), 2018-2038.

Pat-Horenczyk, R., Qasrawi R.,  Lesack R.,  Haj-Yahia M. M.,  Peled O., Shaheen M.,  Berger R.,  Garber R. &  Abdeen, Z. (PI) (2009).

Posttraumatic distress, functional impairment, and Coping among adolescents on both sides  of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A cross-cultural approach. Applied Psychology, 58(4), 688-708.

Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2010). Palestinian physicians' misconceptions about and  approval of wife abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25 (3), 416-442.

Shhadi, N., Haj-Yahia, M. M.,  & Bekerman, Z.  (2009). The significance of Moslem religion for coping with Loss and Bereavement: The case of   Palestinian families living in Israel, whose children were killed during the October 2000 demonstrations. Research in the Social ScientificStudy of Religion, 20, 239-265.

Zembylas, M., Bekerman, Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Shhadi, N. (2010). The politics  of mourning in Cyprus and Israel: Educational implications. Compare: Journal of International and Comparative Education,

Pitner, R. O., Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Zeira, A. (2011). Putting context into cultural perspective: Examining Arab and Jewish adolescents’ judgments and reasoning about spousal retribution  Violence against Women, 17(5), 584-602 (1.496; 4/29).

Clark, C. J., Everson-Rose, S. A., Franco-Suglia, Sh., Btoush, Alonso, A., &  Haj-Yahia, M. M. (PI) (2010). Association between exposure to political  violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian  territory: A cross-sectional study. The Lancet, 375, 310-316.

Guterman, N. B., Haj-Yahia, M. M., Vorhies, V., Ismayilova, L., &  Leshem, B. (2010). Help-seeking and internal obstacles to eceiving support in the wake of community violence exposure: The caseof Arab and Jewish adolescents in Israel. Journal of Child and Family Studies19(6),  687-696.

Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Uysal, A.  (2011). Towards an integratitheoretical framework for explaining beliefs about wife beating: A study among students of nursing from Turkey, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(7), 1401-1431.

Wolfsfeld, L., & Haj-Yahia, M. M.  (2010). Learning and supervisory styles in the training of social workers. The Clinical Supervisor, 29(1), 68-994.

 Leshem, B., Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Guterman, N.  (2011). Characteristics of Israeli Jewish youth exposure to community violence and their relevance to demographic and support variables. HevraVerevaha (Hebrew) [Society and Welfare],31(1), 61-90.

Haj-Yahia, M. M.,Leshem, B., & Guterman, N. B.  (2011).Exposure to community violence among Arab youth in Israel: Rates and characteristic.  Journal of Community Psychology,  39(2), 136-151.

Haj-Yahia, M. M.(2011). Contextualizing interventions with batteredwomen in collectivist societies: Issues and controversies. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16,331-339.