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Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Jun;155(6):841-3.

Relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder characteristics of Holocaust survivors and their adult offspring.

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  • 1Psychiatry Department, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

There is controversy regarding the long-lasting effects of the Holocaust on the adult children of Holocaust survivors. In the present study the authors examined the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) characteristics of Holocaust survivors and their adult children to determine whether differences in symptom severity or diagnostic status of parents would be associated with similar characteristics in their adult children.

METHOD:

Holocaust survivors (N = 22) and their offspring (N = 22) were interviewed with several instruments to assess lifetime trauma history, effect of trauma on one's life, level of intrusive and avoidance symptoms in response to reminders of the Holocaust, current and lifetime PTSD, and current and lifetime axis I psychiatric disorder other than PTSD.

RESULTS:

There were significant relationships between parents and children regarding the effect of trauma on one's life and level of intrusive, but not avoidance, symptoms in response to reminders of the Holocaust. Offspring with traumatic events were more likely to develop PTSD if their parents had PTSD.

CONCLUSIONS:

Symptoms in offspring may be related to presence and severity of symptoms in the parent. Furthermore, PTSD in the parent may be a risk factor for PTSD in offspring.

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PMID:
9619162
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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