Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 393–405 | Cite as

Personal trauma and world view—Are extremely stressful experiences related to political attitudes, religious beliefs, and future orientation?

  • Devora Carmil
  • Shlomo Breznitz


The study of the Hol (Holocaust) provides the opportunity to study enduring effects of stressful experiences, many years after their occurrence. Yet the effect on attitudes and beliefs has been shown relatively little research interest. The present study compared Hol. survivors and children of survivors to two control groups in regard to political attitudes, religious identity, and future orientation. Survivors and children of survivors have been found to be different from the controls; almost 5 decades after the exposure to the trauma, both survivors and their descendants support the more centrally located political parties, express greater belief in God and a greater belief in a better future (χ2=8.945, p<0.030, χ2=15.046, p<0.020, χ2=17.438, p<0.042). Possible explanations accounting for these results are discussed.


Research Interest Social Psychology Religious Belief Political Party Stressful Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acock, A. C., and Bengston, V. L. (1978). On the relative influence of mother and father: A covariance analysis of political and religious socialization.J. Marr. Fam. 40(3): 913–30.Google Scholar
  2. Autonovsky, A., Maoz, B., Dowty, N., and Wijsenbeek, H. (1971). Twenty five years later. A limited study of the sequelae of the concentration camp.Social Psychiatry 6(4): 186–193.Google Scholar
  3. Avidan, D. (1988). The Israeli ego as an existential hypochondriac. Yediot Aharonot (an Israeli daily newspaper).Google Scholar
  4. Bartal, D. (1989). Security problems in Israel. A presentation in the International Conference on Psychological Stress in Times of War and Peace, Tel Aviv Israel (Dec.).Google Scholar
  5. Bengston, V. L. (1975). Generation and family effects in value socialization.Am. Sociological Rev. 40(June): 358–71.Google Scholar
  6. Carmil, D., and Breznitz, S. (1990). Personal trauma and attitudes—Can the stress of loss in war affect political attitudes (submitted).Google Scholar
  7. Chodoff, P. (1963). Late effects of the concentration Camp Syndrome. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 8(4): 323–33.Google Scholar
  8. Eaton, W. W., Sigal, J. J., and Weinfeld, M. (1979). Levels of psychological distress of survivors of the Holocaust. Mimeo.Google Scholar
  9. Eitinger, L. (1964).Concentration Camp Survivors in Norway and Israel, Oslo Univeritetsfor laget.Google Scholar
  10. Gutman, I. (1987). Politics and the Holocaust. Ha'aretz (an Israeli daily Newspaper).Google Scholar
  11. Harvenen, S. (1988). The individual against society. Ha'aretz (an Israeli daily newspaper) Feb.Google Scholar
  12. Heller, D. (1982). Themes of culture and ancestry among children of concentration camp survivors.Psychiatry 45(3): 247–61.Google Scholar
  13. Hyman, H. H. (1959).Political Socialization, Glencoe, The Free Press.Google Scholar
  14. Krystal, H., and Niederland, W. G. (1968). Clinical observations on the survivors syndrome. In Krystal, H. (ed.), Massive Psychic Trauma. International Univ. Press, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Krystal, H. (ed.) (1968). Massive Psychic Trauma,International Univ Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Lifton, R. (1967).Death in Life, Survivors of Hiroshima, Random House, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Matussek, P. (1975). Internment in Concentration Camps and Its Consequences, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  18. Niederland, W. G. (1961). The problem of the survivor.J. Hillside Hosp. (10): 233–45.Google Scholar
  19. Pelei, P. (1987).In Search of Religious Language for the Holocaust, Jerusalem Measef, 11, 12.Google Scholar
  20. Sigal, J. J., Silver, D., Rakoff, V., and Ellin, B. (1973). Some second generation effects of survival of the Nazi persecution.Am. J. Orthopsychiat. 43: 320–71.Google Scholar
  21. Thomas, L. E. (1971). Political attitude congruence between political active parents and college aged children. J. Marr. Fam. 33: 375–86.Google Scholar
  22. Weinfeld, M., Sigal, J. J., and Eaton, W. W. (1981). Long-term effects of the Holocaust on selected social attitudes and behaviors of survivors: A cautionary note.” Social Forces 60(1): 1–19.Google Scholar
  23. Weinfeld, M., Sigal, J. J., and Davis, M. B. (1986). The effects of the Holocaust on selected socio political attitudes of adult children of survivors.Can. Rev. Sociol. Anthropol. 23(3): 365–382.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Devora Carmil
    • 1
  • Shlomo Breznitz
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ray D. Wolfe Centre for the Study of Psychological StressUniversity of HaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations