Hopelessness, temperament, anger and interpersonal relationships in Holocaust (Shoah) survivors’ grandchildren
Iliceto P, Candilera G, Funaro D, Pompili M, Kaplan KJ, Markus-Kaplan M.
J Relig Health. 2011 Jun;50(2):321-9.
The psychiatric literature is divided with regard to the long-term psychological effects associated with Holocaust (Shoah) experiences because the findings of clinical and empirical studies often contradict each other. Despite case reports of emotional sequelae related to intergenerational transmission of trauma, recent empirical research has suggested that offspring of survivors of the Shoah did not differ from other children and found no evidence that traumatic experiences of survivors of the Shoah affected their children’s and grandchildren’s adjustment. To shed light on some of the differences between the empirical and clinical observations, the present study set out to compare the grandchildren of survivors of the Shoah and persons of the same age whose families had not been through the Shoah experience. This study compared the two groups on some psychological dimensions relevant to traumatic sequelae: hopelessness, temperament, personality, attitudes, and interpersonal expectations. Subjects were 124 equally divided among the Shoah survivors’ grandchildren and comparison groups; we administered to all subjects TEMPS-A Rome, Beck Hopelessness Scale, State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, and 9AP (9 Attachment Profile). We found no differences between two groups in Hopelessness, Dysthimic/Cyclotimic/Anxious, Hyperthimic temperament, and self-perception; instead the Shoah survivors’ grandchildren have a view of the other as rejecting, hostile, submissive, insecure, unreliable, and competitive in the interpersonal relationships. The Shoah survivors’ grandchildren are similar to controls in affective temperament, hopelessness and self-perception, but they are more irritable and angry than controls, and their perception about others is deeply negative. Attribution theory was used to elucidate these findings.