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Attach Hum Dev. 2008 Jun;10(2):105-21. doi: 10.1080/14616730802113661.

Does intergenerational transmission of trauma skip a generation? No meta-analytic evidence for tertiary traumatization with third generation of Holocaust survivors.

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  • 1Center for the Study of Child Development, University of Haifa, Israel.


In a series of meta-analyses with the second generation of Holocaust survivors, no evidence for secondary traumatization was found (Van IJzendoorn, Bakermans-Kranenburg, & Sagi-Schwartz, 2003). With regard to third generation traumatization, various reports suggest the presence of intergenerational transmission of trauma. Some scholars argue that intergenerational transmission of trauma might skip a generation. Therefore, we focus in this study on the transmission of trauma to the third generation offspring (the grandchildren) of the first generation's traumatic Holocaust experiences (referred to as "tertiary traumatization"), and we present a narrative review of the pertinent studies. Meta-analytic results of 13 non-clinical samples involving 1012 participants showed no evidence for tertiary traumatization in Holocaust survivor families. Our previous meta-analytic study on secondary traumatization and the present one on third generation's psychological consequences of the Holocaust indicate a remarkable resilience of profoundly traumatized survivors in their (grand-)parental roles.

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