Family patterns of second generation Holocaust survivor women / by Orith Landau
Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-114)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
This study examines the impact of parents' Holocaust experience on non-clinical second generation Holocaust survivor women (SGHSW) in the United States and its possible effects on levels of marital satisfaction. The primary question addressed in this research is whether scars carried by Holocaust survivor parents negatively impact on their children's ability to achieve marital satisfaction. Marital satisfaction was measured, along with three other dimensions of the Holocaust survivor family: parents' involvement in their adult SGHSW daughters' lives; level of commitment between the SGHSW and their spouses; and parental communication of Holocaust experiences. The influence of these factors on SGHSW's marital satisfaction was also examined. Literature on second generation Holocaust survivors (SGHS) supports the argument that the trauma of the Holocaust is a major component in the survivor families' lives. SGHS were affected by the inter-family dynamics of the Holocaust family. Under Bowen's family therapy model Holocaust trauma is transferred from one generation to the next, affecting the ability of SGHS to differentiate themselves from their family of origin, and thereby affecting their marital satisfaction. The research studied 38 SGHSW and 50 women whose parents are not Holocaust survivors. All participants met the following criteria: Jewish; a child of Jewish parents; between the age of 24 and 48; married at least two years; American, or elsewhere-born; lived with intact families from birth to 17 years; emigrated to the United States before, or at, the age of two. In order to participate in the study, the SGHSW subjects had to have at least one Holocaust survivor parent. The study's findings indicate that SGHSW show no significant differences from the control group in their relationships with their spouses, with regard to marital satisfaction and spousal commitment. A significant difference was found between SGHSW and the control group in regard to parental involvement, and in their ability to achieve differentiation from their parents. The SGHSW maintained significantly more involved relationships with their parents than the control group. It was also noted that marital satisfaction of SGHSW was significantly affected by parents' guilt-inducing communication of their Holocaust experiences.
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