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Survival and Resilience Versus Psychopathology: A Seven-Decade Perspective Post-Holocaust

  • Haim Y. Knobler
  • Moshe Z. Abramowitz
  • Jutta Lindert
Chapter

Abstract

A seven-decade perspective post Holocaust reveals a significant change in attitudes, from an initial emphasis on the survivors’ (even their offspring’s) psychopathology, to the underscoring of their resilience including new findings of their surprising longevity and the low rate of their current post-traumatic symptomatology. At first, most psychotherapists who treated Holocaust survivors found them post-traumatic, seen as the common response to experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust. Later on, studies on the influence of Holocaust trauma on the survivors’ children described these offspring as the “Second Generation,” alluding to how they were deeply affected by their parents’ chronic post-traumatic state. In parallel, researchers found that the survivors served as a model for post traumatic growth, resilience, and an inspiration for Antonovsky’s salutogenic theory. Recent meta-analytic studies have found no proof of “transgenerational transmission” of post-traumatic psychopathogy to the second or the third generations. Surprisingly, the data now shows that Holocaust survivors live longer than non-survivors and have less post-traumatic symptoms.

Some of the more elegantly designed nonclinical studies were done in Israel, due to the presence of a large number of survivors and of their offspring, and due to the existence of appropriate control groups.

Keywords

Posttraumatic growth Post-trauma adjustment Holocaust Salutogenesis 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haim Y. Knobler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Moshe Z. Abramowitz
    • 3
  • Jutta Lindert
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.The Jerusalem Mental Health CenterHebrew University, Hadassah Medical SchoolJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Peres Academic CenterRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.Jerusalem Mental Health CenterHebrew University, Hadassah Medical SchoolJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Department of Social Work and Public HealthUniversity of Applied Sciences EmdenEmdenGermany
  5. 5.Women’s Studies Research CenterBrandeis UniversityBrandeisUSA

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