An investigation of the effect of Holocaust survivor parents on their children / by Cynthia Budick.
This study was an inquiry into whether the character traits and symptoms of Holocaust survivors had an effect on their children. Further, it was an attempt to distinguish between two groups of survivors' children: children of survivors who were adolescents in the Concentration Camps and children of survivors who were adults in the Camps. The subjects in this study comprised a total sample of 64 Jewish individuals. The sample was apportioned into four groups of subjects: two experimental and two control groups. There were 16 individuals in each group, an equal number of males and females. The sources of data were: the Life History Questionnaire, the Personal Attributes Inventory--a composite of scales and subscales and the Structured Interview. Each of the dependent variables was analyzed using a 2 x 2 x 2 analysis of variance. The three-way ANOVA assessed the effects of Camp Experience (children of survivors and controls), Sex (male and female), and Developmental Level (children of parents who were adolescents during WWII and children of parents who were adults during WWII). The ANOVA yielded a main effect for Camp Experience on eleven of the twenty personality attributes assessed. Despite measurable differences between children of survivors and controls, the mean scores obtained by both groups on all dependent variables were within the normal range. That children of survivors obtained normal mean scores is strong evidence for their normality. The findings encourage the concept of a "survivor child's complex," which acknowledges the impact of survivor parents on their children, but visualizes this impact as producing a constellation of outstanding personality attributes, within the normal range that is unique to children of survivors. The analysis of variance also revealed that children of survivors whose parents were adolescents in the Concentration Camps were no different from children of survivors whose parents were adults in the Camps on the majority of dependent variables assessed. Three interaction effects (Camp Experience x Developmental Level) were obtained that shed light on the differences between the two groups. Analysis of all three effects supports the notion that the children of survivors who were adults were more affected by their parents' trauma.
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