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Survivor guilt and transgenerational transmission of trauma in Jewish Holocaust survivors and their children / by Judith M. Hirsch.

Publication | Library Call Number: RC451.4.H62 H574 2003

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that adult Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors would have higher levels of interpersonal/survivor guilt than adult children of non-Holocaust survivors. A second objective was to establish a relationship between Holocaust family coping style and survivor guilt. Sixty-seven adult children of Holocaust survivors residing primarily in California and the East Coast of the United States constitute the study sample. Anonymously, they completed the Interpersonal Guilt Questionaire-67 and Rich's Children of Survivors Questionnaire, an instrument designed to elicit family coping styles. To test the first hypothesis, scores of this sample on the survivor guilt scale were compared to Asano's sample of 98 non-Jewish European Americans. The samples are very similar in terms of mean age and gender composition. To determine whether or not family coping style and survivor guilt are related to each other, scores on the two scales were subjected to correlational analyses. As predicted, children of survivors showed higher levels of interpersonal guilt; survivor guilt, separation guilt, omnipotent responsibility guilt, and self hate guilt, than the comparison sample. There also was a correlation between survivor guilt and family coping style. The results of the study suggest that survivor guilt plays a role in the transmission of trauma from one generation to the next. The results are discussed from a Control Mastery theoretical perspective and suggestions are made for the expansion of research on transmission of trauma.

Hirsch, Judith M.
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 16:28:00
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