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Parent-child relationships in children of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust / by Lawrence Alan Hanover

Publication | Library Call Number: RC451.4.H62 H36 1981

The Problem. The purpose of this study was to compare the responses of children of holocaust survivors to the responses of other first generation American Jewish adults with no holocaust background, on a measure of perceived parental behavior (Schaefer's Children's Report of Parental Behavior Inventory). This study addressed the following major research hypothesis: There is a significant difference between the mean scores of children of holocaust survivors and children of non-survivors with regard to parent-child relationships. Additionally, it was hypothesized that there are significant differences between the mean scores of children of holocaust survivors and children of non-survivors with regard to parental possessiveness, degree of autonomy, and acceptance of individuation. Method. This study utilized the static-group comparison method for the purpose of investigating the effect of holocaust traumatization upon the children of survivors. Subjects also responded to a personal information sheet including age, sex, educational level, occupation, marital status, age of separation from home, war experiences of parents, membership in a second generation organization, and the degree to which respondents perceived the impact of the holocaust upon them. Mean scores were analyzed by the t-test to determine the significant differences between these two groups on specific measures of parent-child relationships. Demographic variables were analyzed by means of chi-square to compare the discrepancies between expected and observed frequencies between children of survivors and children of non-survivors. Results. The 24 children of survivors had a mean age of 29.17 years (significantly lower than children of non-survivors) and were physically separated from the home at a mean age of 20.6 (not significantly different than children of non-survivors). Both parents were survivors of the holocaust, 13 subjects were married (55 percent), nine were single (37.5 percent), and two were divorced (7.5 percent) (significantly different than children of non-survivors, who were more frequently married {80 percent} or single {20 percent}). As a group, 16 were employed in professional careers and two completing professional schools (75 percent of the sample) (significantly higher than children of the non-survivors) and felt more significantly impacted by their parents' holocaust experiences than children of non-survivors. The 20 children of non-survivors had a mean age of 39.20 years and were physically separated from the home at a mean age of 19.84. Sixteen subjects were married (80 percent) and four single (20 percent). As a group, nine were employed in professional careers and two completing professional schools (55 percent of the sample). Children of survivors of the holocaust perceived both the mother and the father as possessive, rejecting, intrusive, employing control through guilt, exercising hostile control, practicing inconsistent discipline, and withdrawal of relations. In addition, the mother, but not the father, was perceived as practicing hostile detachment, non-enforcement, and lax discipline. Finally, the father, but not the mother, was perceived as instilling persistent anxiety. The responses of children of survivors were not significantly different than the responses of children of nonsurvivors with regard to degree of autonomy and acceptance of individuation. Additional findings highlighted differences between these two groups based upon the sex of the respondent. Discussion centered around significant differences that were not supported by the literature; particularly Israeli research, possibly due to cultural differences. The issues of separation, autonomy, and individuation might be better explored through an examination of intimate relationships and childrearing practices of the children of survivors.

Format
Book
Author/Creator
Hanover, Lawrence Alan.
Published
c1981
Includes bibliographical references (p. [241]-254)
Language
English
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Record last modified: 2018-05-29 16:28:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/bib23514