Recurrent trauma: Holocaust survivors cope with aging and cancer

Shira Hantman*, Zahava Solomon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The current study aims to determine whether elderly Holocaust survivors are affected differently from non-survivors by the adversity of aging and cancer. Method: Holocaust survivors and non-survivors suffering from cancer, were assessed tapping PTSD, psychiatric symptomatology, psychosocial adjustment to illness and coping with the aftermath of the Holocaust. Results: Findings indicate a significant difference between survivors and non-survivors in post-traumatic symptoms and their intensity, survivors endorsing significantly more PTSD symptoms. Survivors were classified into 3 sub-groups, namely "Victims," "Fighters," and "Those who made it". "Victims" reported the highest percentage of persons who met PTSD, psychiatric symptomatology and difficulty coping with the problems of old age. Conclusions: The diversity of responses points to heterogeneity of long-term adaptation and adjustment among Holocaust survivors and similar response to subsequent adversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-402
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Coping
  • Holocaust
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder


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