The effects of multiple trauma : an exploratory study of daughters of Jewish Holocaust survivors who themselves experienced childhood physical and/or sexual abuse / by Sandra Maxine Lynton.
The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of multiple trauma, specifically the intergenerational impact of the Holocaust and child abuse. A sizeable body of literature focuses on the impact of various types of child abuse on later adult life. There are also numerous publications focusing on the impact of the trauma of the Holocaust on survivors and their offspring. More recently the issue of violence in Jewish families in the U.S. has appeared in the literature. However, there has been no prior research about child abuse in Jewish Holocaust survivor families. This exploratory study gathered information from ten daughters of Jewish Holocaust survivors who experienced child abuse, giving voice to their personal experiences. A qualitative case studies design was used to gain an understanding of the world viewpoints and experiences of a few representative individuals from this population through the use of in-depth interviews. All of the participants discussed having been impacted in a negative way as a result of being daughters of Holocaust survivors and having experienced childhood physical and/or sexual abuse themselves. They all had symptoms of anxiety and depression as children and adolescents. They all had strained and conflicted relationships with their parents, yet felt protective of them, or felt anguish for them because of their Holocaust experiences. They were all on extreme ends of a continuum between trust and mistrust. Another common theme was having difficulties with intimacy and intimate relationships. The common characteristics of women who have experienced child abuse and those found to be experienced by offspring of Holocaust survivors overlap greatly. What is specific to this population are the cumulative effects of experiencing both types of trauma in question. Silence and isolation are serious problems. The voices of the women in this study suggest that finding a safe place to talk openly and process both the Holocaust and child abuse is critical for healing.
- United States
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