Factors related to experiences of depression among children of Holocaust survivors / by Michelle Diane Schulman.
The present study investigated factors contributing to experiences of depression among children of Holocaust survivors. Participants were a group of twenty (10 male, 10 female) well-functioning, nonsymptomatic young adult children of survivors, both of whose parents had survived the Holocaust in a concentration or labor camp for at least six months during World War II. Data were collected by means of questionnaires and individual interviews. Subjects provided information about family Holocaust background, experiences of depression as well as reactions to stories of their parents' Holocaust experiences. Data were also derived from extensive clinical interviews with each subject. The results of the study demonstrated that the extent of parental trauma during the war--as measured by the length of parental internment, the number of primary relatives lost, the number of parents' surviving siblings and the number of parental siblings lost--was not a relevant indicator of experiences of depression among children of survivors. An investigation of gender differences with regard to experiences of depression revealed two significant findings: (1) Female children of Holocaust survivors were more prone to depressive experiences and scored significantly higher than their male counterparts on the Dependency factor of the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire, and (2) Male children of Holocaust survivors scored significantly higher than their female counterparts on the Efficacy factor of the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire. Significant sex differences were found in subject affect ratings of parental Holocaust communication. Female children of Holocaust survivors were made more upset and more curious by listening to their parents talk of their Holocaust experiences. Discussion focused on the nature and source of depressive experiences among children of survivors and the usefulness of integrating the quantitative data derived from the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire with the qualitative findings of the clinical interview.
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