The relationship between the Holocaust and object relations in adult children of Holocaust survivors / by Lily Walman Blank
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 87-101)
Given the wide variety and quantity of opinions put forth regarding the effects of the holocaust on both survivors and their children, this study attempted to examine the effects of the holocaust on object relations in children of holocaust survivors. Measures included a Demographic Questionnaire and Semantic Differential, both developed by the researcher, as well as the Bell Object Relations Reality Testing Inventory and the Rorschach. The Rorschach was scored using the Mutuality of Autonomy Scoring System, an object relations system developed by Urist. Sixty-eight subjects (35 children of survivors and 33 controls) participated in the study. All target groups subjects were required to have either both parents, or mothers only, as holocaust survivors. Most target groups subjects were children of two holocaust survivor parents (N = 30). As predicted, subtle differences in object relations were found on the Rorschach, with children of survivors reporting greater dependency on objects than controls. Children of survivors also saw a greater number of pathological objects on the Rorschach, reflecting a more intimate relationship with evil and disturbed objects. There were no differences between the two groups in their perception of themselves in social relationships and interactions, nor were any differences found in overall levels of psychopathology. These findings are believed to reflect not the children of survivors' greater dependency on objects, but rather their parents greater reliance on them for emotional support throughout their childhoods. This caused children of survivors to assume a caretaking position in relation to their parents, feeling greater responsibility for their emotional health and well being.
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