An evaluation of possible transmission of Holocaust-related trauma to the third generation / by Susan C. Kassai.
The primary purpose of this study was to investigate whether grandchildren of Holocaust survivors (placed in concentration camps) were more prone to suffering from PTSD symptoms than two other matched control groups: grandchildren of Jewish non-immigrants (native-born); and grandchildren of Non-Jewish immigrants. As part of the proliferation of the literature regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it has been well established that PTSD symptoms can be transmitted from parents to children. This has been confirmed most often with respect to Vietnam War Veterans and Holocaust survivors, whose children often suffer from various PTSD related symptoms. Previous research has not yet established whether an identical transmission of PTSD symptoms can occur from the second generation to a third.The measures employed in conducting this study were the Secondary Trauma Scale (STS), the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Form Y) (STAI), and a Modified Stroop Procedure which was comprised of colored Holocaust trauma-related words, positive words, neutral words and obsessive compulsive disorder words. Each set of stimuli was printed on a separate card and the participants were only required to name the colors in which the stimuli are printed. The Modified Stroop Procedure has not previously been used in research regarding to the transmission of Holocaust related PTSD. Demographic information was also obtained regarding family history.Results indicate that all three groups exhibited longer response latency for the PTSD Holocaust-related stimuli card thereby indicating an increased sensitivity across all populations regardless of race or religion. The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and the grandchildren of Non-Jewish immigrants scored significantly higher than the grandchildren of Jewish Americans on the Secondary Trauma Scale as well as the Avoidance subscale of the IES-R. This finding suggests a possible immigration effect for these groups. There were no other significant differences across the other measured employed in this study. These conclusions can be construed as persuasive evidence that, with respect to Holocaust-induced secondary trauma, the residual impact is diminished to such an extent by the third generation that the differences between grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and the overall population is statistically non-significant.
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