Relationship of religiosity to stress resilience and degree of PTSD symptomology in children of Holocaust survivors and escapees / by Alvera Vayzer-Milberg
Includes bibliographical references (p.97-115)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
The current study was designed to determine the relationship among religion, PTSD and stress resilience. The participants were a non-random sample of eighty two offspring of Jewish couples at least one of whom was European born. Of the participants, fifty-six were children of Holocaust survivors. Fifteen were children of parents who left Europe before Hitler's rise to power in 1933 and managed to avoid or escape the Holocaust. Eleven of the participants had one parent who survived and one parent who escaped. All of the participants were volunteers recruited from various different synagogues and temples as well as local libraries and restaurants in the Five Towns area of Long Island. All eighty two participants were administered a questionnaire packet that consisted of the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS) (Foa, 1998), Hardiness Scale (Kobasa & Puccetti, 1983), Jewish Identity Questionnaire (JIQ) (Baron et al., 1995), Religious Orientation Scale (ROS) (Allport and Ross, 1967), consent form and a personal data sheet. The PDS Scale examined the participants severity of posttraumatic symptoms; the Hardiness Scale measured participants stress resilience; the JIQ measured the participants level of religiosity; the ROS measured the participants extrinsic and intrinsic orientations to religion; the personal data sheet gathered demographic information. Questionnaire packets were distributed at various temples during particular events. Participants who responded to the advertisements were sent packets via mail. All questionnaires were returned to the researcher by mail. A 2 x 2 anova revealed a main effect for religion on PDS severity. The two levels of type of offspring were survivor and escapee and the two levels of religiosity were low and high religious. Highly religious groups displayed less PDS severity than the low religious groups, p = .009. Interactions were also found between type of offspring (survivor or escapee) by level of religion (low and high) on PDS severity, p = .027 and hardiness, p = .052. A significant negative correlation was found for the high religious survivors and escapees between PDS severity and hardiness, r(37) = −.326, p = .05. This indicates that for the highly religious participants more stress resilience is correlated to less PDS severity. A significant positive correlation was found between scores on JIQ and intrinsic religious scores, r (82) = .680, p < .001. The purpose of this research study is to better understand the relationship of religion on PTSD and stress resilience in children of survivors and escapees. Children of survivors and children of escapees did not differ on PDS severity and hardiness. This outcome may be due to the unrepresentative nature of the sample given the high refusal rates. A link was established between religion and PDS severity. Further research is needed to lend credence to the present study.
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