Is the holocaust implicated in posttraumatic growth in second-generation holocaust survivors? A prospective study

Sharon Dekel, Christine Mandl, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the growing interest in posttraumatic growth (PTG), and the ongoing debate on the implications of transgenerational transmission of trauma, this longitudinal study examined PTG among Holocaust survivor offspring following their own exposure to trauma. Using self-report questionnaires, we assessed PTG over time in middle aged (age: M = 53 years) Israeli male combat veterans of the 1973 Yom Kippur War whose parents were (n = 43) and were not (n = 156) second-generation survivors of the Nazi Holocaust at 2 time points: 30 and 35 years following the war (in 2003 and 2008). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and trauma exposure were also assessed in 1991. We hypothesized that second-generation survivors would report more PTG than controls. However, repeated measures design revealed that the second-generation veterans reported less PTG than veterans who were not second generation, which was evident in the PTG domains of relations to others, personal strength, and appreciation of life. Our findings suggest that transmission of trauma from one generation to the next is possibly implicated in the offspring's propensity for growth following subsequent trauma. Future research is warranted to examine the link between transmission of trauma and positive outcomes following trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-533
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

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