Recurrent trauma: Holocaust survivors cope with aging and cancer
- 349 Downloads
The current study aims to determine whether elderly Holocaust survivors are affected differently from non-survivors by the adversity of aging and cancer.
Holocaust survivors and non-survivors suffering from cancer, were assessed tapping PTSD, psychiatric symptomatology, psychosocial adjustment to illness and coping with the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Findings indicate a significant difference between survivors and non-survivors in post-traumatic symptoms and their intensity, survivors endorsing significantly more PTSD symptoms. Survivors were classified into 3 sub-groups, namely “Victims,” “Fighters,” and “Those who made it”. “Victims” reported the highest percentage of persons who met PTSD, psychiatric symptomatology and difficulty coping with the problems of old age.
The diversity of responses points to heterogeneity of long-term adaptation and adjustment among Holocaust survivors and similar response to subsequent adversity.
Key wordsholocaust aging cancer post-traumatic stress disorder coping
This study was supported by Grants [19992010 and 980062c] from the Israel Cancer Association.
- 1.American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders – DSM-IV. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- 2.Antonovsky A (1979) Health, stress and aging. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- 3.Antonovsky A (1987) Unraveling the mystery of health. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- 4.Baider L, Sarrell M (1984) Coping with cancer among Holocaust survivors in Israel: an exploratory study. J Hum Str 10:121–127Google Scholar
- 7.Carmil D, Breznitz S (1991) Personal trauma and world view: are extremely stressful experiences related to political attitudes, religious beliefs, and future orientations? JTS 4(3):393–405Google Scholar
- 8.Carp FM (1989) Maximizing data quality in community studies of older people. In: Lawton MP, Herzog AR (eds) Special research methods for gerontology. Baywood, Amityville, pp 93–122Google Scholar
- 10.Cook JM (2001) Post-traumatic stress disorder in older adults. PTRQ 12(3):1–7Google Scholar
- 11.Danieli Y (1982) Families of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust: some short- and long-term effects. In: Spielberger CD, Sarason IG, Milgram NA (eds) Stress and anxiety. Hemisphere, Washington DC, pp 405–419Google Scholar
- 12.Danieli Y (1985) The treatment and prevention of long-term effects of intergenerational transmission of victimization: a lesson from Holocaust survivors and their children. In: Figley CR (ed) Trauma and its wake, vol 1. Brunner/Mazel, New York, pp 295–313Google Scholar
- 13.Derogatis LR (1977) The SCL-90 Manual F: scoring, administration and procedures for the SCL-90. John Hopkins University, School of Medicine, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
- 15.Derogatis LR, Lopez MC (1983) Psychological adjustment to illness scale (PAIS & PAIS-SR). Scoring, procedure and administration manual. John Hopkins University School of Medicine, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
- 17.Epstein S (1983) Natural healing processes of the mind: graded stress inoculation as an inherent coping mechanism. In: Michenbaum D, Yarenko M (eds) Stress reduction and prevention. Plenum Press, New York, pp 39–66Google Scholar
- 18.Eysneck HJ (1983) Personality as a fundamental concept in scientific psychology. Austria J Psychol 35:289–304Google Scholar
- 19.Felton BJ (1990) Coping and social support in older people’s experiences of chronic illness. In: Stephens MAP, Crowther JH, Hobfoll SE, Tennenbaum DL (eds) Stress and coping in later life families. Hemisphere Pub Corp, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- 20.Hantman S, Solomon Z, Prager E (1994) How the Gulf War affected aged Holocaust survivors. In: Brink TL (ed) Holocaust survivors’ mental health. Haworth Press, New York, pp 27–37Google Scholar
- 22.Janis IL (1971) Stress and frustration. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 23.Kestenberg JS (1998) Adult survivors child survivors and children of survivors. In: Kestenberg JS, Kahn C (eds) Children surviving persecution: an international study of trauma and healing. Praeger, Westport Ct, pp 56–65Google Scholar
- 27.Lomerantz J (1990) Long-term adaptation to traumatic stress in light of adult development and aging perspectives. In: Stephens MA, Crowther S, Hobfoll S, Tennebaum DL (eds) Stress and coping in later life families. Hemisphere, Washington, DC, pp 99–121Google Scholar
- 28.Marcus P, Rosenberg A (1988) A philosophical critique of the “Survivor Syndrome” and some implications for treatment. In: Braham L (ed) The psychological perspectives of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 29.Niederland WG (1968) The psychiatric problems of the survivor: the psychiatric evaluation of emotional disorders in survivors of Nazi persecution. In: Krystal H (ed) Massive psychic trauma. International Universities Press, New York, pp 8–22Google Scholar
- 31.Rich MS (1982) Children of Holocaust survivors: a concurrent validity study of a survivor family typology. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Berkley University, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
- 34.Selye H (1976) The stress of life. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 36.Solomon Z, Ginsburg K (1998) War trauma and the aged. In: Lomerantz J (ed) Handbook of aging and mental health. Plenum Press, New York, pp 135–152Google Scholar
- 38.Solomon Z, Benbenishty R, Neria Y, Abramowitz M, Ginzburg K, Ohry A (1993) Assessment of PTSD: validation of the revised PTSD Inventory. Isr J Psychi Rel Sci 30(2):110–115Google Scholar
- 40.Suedfeld P (2000) Reverberations of the Holocaust fifty years later: psychology’s contributions to understanding persecution and genocide. Can Psychol 41(1):1–9Google Scholar
- 43.Yehuda R, Kahana B, Schmeidler J, Southwick S, Wilson S, Giller E (1985) The impact of cumulative lifetime trauma and recent stress on current posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in Holocaust survivors. Am J Psychiat 152:1815–1818Google Scholar