Depression and anxiety in Holocaust survivors / by Roland Rozen.
During World War II, nearly six million European Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Those who have survived this "Holocaust" have been reported by many investigators to be suffering from a "survivor syndrome" persisting even many years post-liberation. This syndrome has been characterized by numerous affective, cognitive, and somatic symptoms, with depression and anxiety being the most commonly reported. The present study posited that these survivors, whether they were confined or hidden, would suffer from significant levels of both depression and anxiety. Most previous research on Holocaust survivors has focused on concentration camp survivors to the neglect of those who survived by remaining on the run. This study addressed concentration camp (Captured group) and on the run (Hidden group) survivors and generated hypotheses which predicted that the two groups would not differ in the degree of depression and of anxiety. The subjects were 100 Holocaust survivors which included 25 male and 28 female Captured survivors, and 18 male and 29 female Hidden survivors. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to assess depression and Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait Form Y (STAI) was used to measure anxiety. The BDI data raw scores were converted to two categories (no depression/depression). The proportion of the subjects from the study's two groups which fell into each category was compared via arcsine transformations and the application of normal curve tests. The STAI data was analyzed by converting the raw scores into two categories (no anxiety/anxiety). The proportion of the subjects from the study's two groups which fell into each category was compared via arcsine transformations and the application of normal curve tests. To compare Captured with Hidden survivors, t-tests were applied to both BDI and STAI scores. Statistical analysis failed to confirm the hypothesis that there were significant levels of depression and anxiety within the groups. However, the hypotheses which predicted no significant difference between Captured and Hidden survivors were confirmed. Methodological problems, gender differences and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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