Factors contributing to the degree of psychopathology in first- and second-generation Holocaust survivors / by Rosalie Finer-Greenberg.
The purpose of the present study was to ascertain the relationship between cognitive distortions, acculturation, and psychopathology in Holocaust survivors and their children. The Cognition Checklist was employed as a measure of cognitive distortions. Acculturation patterns were measured by a modified version of the Mendoza Cultural Life Style Inventory (Form A). The SCL-90-R was employed as a measure of psychopathology. Subjects consisted of 29 Holocaust survivors and 29 children of survivors. A control group of 25 first-generation non-survivors and 25 second-generation non-survivors were also included. Subjects were selected using multi-stage sampling. Subjects also provided names of other potential participants. First-generation survivors were expected to exhibit significantly higher levels of psychopathology and cognitive distortions than the second-generation survivors. A similar pattern was predicted between first- and second-generation non-survivors. This hypothesis was tested with six separate analyses of variances. First-generation survivors exhibited significantly higher levels of overall psychopathology and anxiety than the second generation. Second-generation non-survivors revealed significantly higher scores than the first generation on the depression measure. A significant positive relationship was also predicted between predictor variables (psychopathology and cognitive distortions) and cultural resistance as well as cultural shift. A significant negative correlation was predicted between these predictor variables and cultural incorporation. Eighteen simple regression analyses were conducted. Results revealed a significant positive relationship between all predictor variables and cultural resistance while a significant negative relationship was manifested among overall psychopathology, anxiety, depression, anxious cognitive distortions, and cultural incorporation. A non-significant negative relationship did exist between depressive cognitive distortions as well as global cognitive distortions and cultural incorporation. Significant relationships were predicted between overall psychopathology and cognitive distortions, depressive cognitive distortions and depression as well as between anxious cognitive distortions and anxiety. Each hypothesis was tested using simple regression analysis. All relationships were significant both for the whole sample and within each of the four groups with one exception. A positive but non-significant relationship was found between anxious cognitive distortions and anxiety for second-generation non-survivors. The results of this study provide support for the relationships among acculturation, cognitive distortions, and psychopathology in survivors and their descendents. Implications for further research are also discussed.
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