Guilt and achievement motivation among second generation Holocaust survivors : an exploratory study / by Deborah Ann Simon.
The purpose of the present study was first to compare levels of guilt and achievement motivation among children of Holocaust survivors with those of normative samples. A second goal of the study was to ascertain the relationship between measures of guilt and achievement motivation among children of Holocaust survivors. The Kugler and Jones Guilt Inventory (1992) was used to assess levels of guilt. Two scales were employed: state guilt and trait guilt. The Mehrabian Achieving Tendency Scale (Mehrabian, 1994) (MATS) was used to assess levels of achievement motivation as a unitary construct. A second measure of achievement motivation, The Cassidy-Lynn Achievement Motivation Questionnaire (Cassidy and Lynn, 1989), was used to assess levels of achievement motivation using three separate scales: work ethic, excellence, and mastery. Subjects consisted of 105 children of Holocaust survivors. They were recruited through the Second Generation Organization, local Jewish organizations, networking, work-of-mouth, and personal contacts. Children of Survivors were expected to exhibit significantly higher levels of guilt and achievement motivation relative to the normative sample. These hypotheses were tested using six separate t tests for each scale. Children of Survivors exhibited significantly higher levels of both state guilt and trait guilt, and significantly higher levels of excellence on the Cassidy-Lynn Achievement Motivation Questionnaire. However, COS did not exhibit significantly higher levels of achievement motivation on the MATS, work ethic, and mastery subscales, compared with normative samples. A significant positive relationship was expected between trait guilt and all measures of achievement motivation using a Pearson-product-moment correlation. Results revealed a mild but significant negative correlation between trait guilt and excellence. Although other relationships were evident, none approached statistical significance. Results of this study provide empirical support for significantly higher levels of guilt among survivors' children. Study findings also demonstrated that motivation levels were, for the most part, comparable to those of normative samples. Incidental findings revealed that children of survivors exhibited higher levels of actual achievement when compared to the general population.
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