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Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2007;53(3):216-27.

[Fatherless: long-term sequelae in German children of World War II].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Klinik und klinisches Institut für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In World War II, 2.5 million children in Germany lost their fathers. Most of them grew up with their single mother, often accompanied by financial hardship. In a questionnaire carried out in 2003 in persons born before 1947, a rate of 19 % reported that they grew up with their mother alone.

METHODS:

The present study examines whether long-term sequelae can be observed in these persons. Therefore, a representative sample of 883 subjects with an average age of 68 was questioned about psychiatric symptoms (SCL-27), loss of father and experiences during the war.

RESULTS:

Subjects reporting a loss of father had consistently more psychiatric symptoms. Three out of the six subscales of the SCL-27 displayed highly significant differences (depressive symptoms, symptoms of social phobia, symptoms of mistrust). Vegetative symptoms were also higher, but the effect was less pronounced. Agoraphobic and dysthymic symptoms did not show significantly higher values.

DISCUSSION:

It can be concluded that growing up without a father may have life-long consequences.

PMID:
17883930
DOI:
10.13109/zptm.2007.53.3.216
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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