Genocide and generativity : the effects of the Holocaust experience on generativity / by Avi Kay.
Twenty European-born American Jewish males (ten concentration camp survivors and ten refugees who left Europe immediately prior the Holocaust) participated in a study examining generativity among Holocaust survivors. Participants were interviewed concerning generativity related issues, completed two generativity related measures and responded to Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) images in order to assess patterns of generativity. This study helps break new ground by examining generativity via both quantitative and qualitative measures. A critique of the existing literature, with emphasis on the evolution of knowledge concerning the psychological ramifications of the Holocaust, is presented. Following that, the relationship between generativity and survivorship is explicated through a typology and possible expressions of generativity. Insight into the patterns of generativity among "survivors" and "refugees" is seen as essential to the understanding of the adult development of Holocaust survivors. Data indicate that Holocaust survivors are a particularly generative group. Their level of generative thought and action far exceeds not only that of the refugee group; but that of other similarly aged groups examined in other studies with identical methodology. Further, the data indicate that survivors experienced generativity at a far younger age and that generativity served as a vehicle of survival for the survivors' group. Other major findings indicate that while there was an almost complete absence of technical generativity on their part; both survivors and refugees alike were driven toward parental generativity. That desire was characterized by a certain "magical" element among survivors. The principle emphasis of parental generativity among survivors related to the material well-being of their children. While, as expected, survivors expressed a strong desire to speak to others concerning their past experiences, the actual messages that survivors relayed to their children tended to be very normative in nature. Both survivors and refugees tended to refrain from speaking to their children about their personal experiences. Survivors, often out of a fear of being pitied or making their children sad. Refugees out of a sense that they had nothing of value to transmit.
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