The impact of kinship group experience on the identity, self-esteem, alienation and subjective well-being on children of Holocaust survivors / by Rita Goldwasser Meed
Bibliography: p. 113-121
This study proposed that psychosocial factors (dislocation of the family, differences in cultural and child rearing norms, lack of extended family) as well as the parental war-time experiences contributed to the uncertain sense of identity and alienation and lack of well being reported by children of Holocaust survivors (COS). It was then argued that a "kinship group" would be a favorable medium for providing an appropriate reference group for reconstructing the cultural and historical issues that made survivor families appear different and abhorrent. In addition, the group could provide a potential kin like network lacking in this population, thus facilitating positive changes in measures of identity, alienation, self-esteem and subjective well being. To test this thesis, COS who expressed interest in joining a kinship group were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: treatment, wait-list control with information, and wait-list control. Participants in the study submitted a pre- and post- treatment questionnaire comprised of seven scales: (1) Tauber Identification Scale; (2) Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale; (3) Keniston Alienation Scale; (4) Dean Alienation Scale; (5) Satisfaction with Life Scale; (6) COS Identity Scale; and (7) Open-Ended Statements. Forty-one COS participated in one of five groups led by experienced peer group leaders. Of the seventy-three additional subjects who were sampled, seventeen COS who responded were on a wait-list control and received an informational newsletter, and twenty-eight COS were on a waiting list with no newsletter. In addition, a non-COS group (n = 27) composed of participants in seminars or classes were sampled to test the effect of meeting. The treatment group differed significantly on two of the seven criterion measures; the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (F(3,109) = 3.22, p $<$ $-.05$) and the Dean Alienation Scale (F(3,109) = 6.91, p $<$.001). The multivariate test for the significance of difference due to experimental group was not significant (F(12,297) = 1.36, p =.183). Additional correlated sample t-tests for the significance of pre- to post-treatment gains showed that the treatment group demonstrated significant gains in self-esteem (t(40) = 1.80, p =.040), Tauber Identity (T(40) = 3.89, p =.000) and relationship with father (t(18) = 2.03, p =.029), and reduction on the Dean Alienation Scale (t(39) = $-1.79$, p =.041). Self-reports corroborated these changes. No changes were observed in any of the other groups. These results gave mixed support to the hypothesis and are compromised by the lack of initial comparability on pre-test measures.
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