Warrior Fathers and Warrior Sons

Intergenerational Aspects of Trauma
  • Robert Rosenheck
  • Alan Fontana
Part of the The Plenum Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


This chapter considers whether Vietnam veterans whose fathers served in combat have an increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder and other postwar adjustment problems when compared with other Vietnam veterans. Samples are Vietnam veterans who participated in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) and veterans seeking treatment for PTSD from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In the total NVVRS sample there were no differences between these two groups. However, within the subgroup of veterans who met criteria for PTSD,those whose fathers had been exposed to combat had more severe problems on several measures. In the VA sample, too, veterans whose fathers served in combat scored higher in PTSD symptoms, suicidality, guilt, and loss of religious faith. We conclude that intergenerational effects of trauma emerge when the second generation itself has PTSD, and show that these transgenerational effects are related to intergenerational processes during the homecoming period rather than to differences in premilitary experience.


Veteran Affair Ptsd Symptom Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Vietnam Veteran Holocaust Survivor 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Rosenheck
    • 1
  • Alan Fontana
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterans Affairs, Northeast Program Evaluation CenterVeterans Affairs Medical CenterWest HavenUSA

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