Trauma and its aftermath : a differentiated picture of aftereffects of trauma in daughters of Holocaust survivors / by Tikva Tytell.
It was long assumed that a trauma as horrendous as the Holocaust must have had pathological aftereffects not only on the survivors, but also on their offspring. Recent empirical studies have failed to confirm these outcomes. However, there are indications of psychological aftereffects manifested in various life domains as vulnerabilities, as strengths, or both. One aim of this study was to create an empirical and differentiated picture of aftereffects, with strengths postulated in properties of hardiness, empathy, and motive to achieve, and vulnerability in compromised intimacy. The study compared a group of daughters of Holocaust survivors (DOHS) (n = 60) and a group of Jewish women whose parents did not experience directly the Holocaust (n = 57). It was hypothesized that the DOHS would score significantly higher than the controls on measures of hardiness, achievement motivation, empathy, and fear of intimacy. According to the adult-development theoretical framework, Survivors' children are now in a stage (middle-adulthood) when generativity issues (i.e., caring for the next generation) emerge and are salient. The study's second set of hypotheses postulated that DOHS would score higher than the controls on the generative concerns scale and the generative action scale, and that there would be differences between the groups in the expression of generativity. The two groups' subjects completed the WOFO, IRI, Hardiness, FIS, LGS, and GBS scales. Social desirability tendency was measured by MC SD. A one way ANOVA and ANCOVA were used to analyze the data. Interviews were conducted with a sub-sample. Overall, DOHS were not found to differ from their control counterparts in most dimensions measured. However, DOHS reported an inferior quality of relationship with their mothers, an effect associated with increased fear of intimacy. There was a near significant difference indicating that the DOHS have a lesser motivation to master especially challenging tasks. DOHS were less concerned with the well being of the next generation, yet were equally active generatively. Unlike the controls, whose generativity was associated with both agentic-achievement and communal-relational tendencies, the generativity of DOHS related only to their communal-relational proclivities.
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