Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The recent literature on children of holocaust survivors has focused increasingly on the "normal", well-functioning members of that population. The realization that serious pathology is not an inescapable consequence of growing up in a survivor family has resulted in an interest in determining the circumstances which contribute to a healthy adaptation on the part of the offspring of survivor families. The present study was designed to explore this issue from two points of view: (1) the influence of cultural supports which contribute to healthy functioning; and (2) the influences of individual supports which facilitate healthy adaptations. A group of 16 well-functioning children of survivors and a control group of 16 Jewish subjects whose parents had not been in the concentration camps were interviewed in Israel. Two parallel groups were interviewed in North America. Four areas of personality functioning were assessed: Individuation, Aggression, Alienation, and Fantasy. In addition, five measures of support were obtained for each subject. These included: Parents' support, Relatives' support, Community support, Pursued support, and Overall support. A 2 x 2 multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze the results of the personality assessment. No differences among groups was found on the Individuation scale. Control group subjects were superior to children of survivors on the remaining personality measures. An interaction effect was found for the Aggression and Alienation scales, as children of survivors in North America had more difficulty in these areas relative to the North American control group than did Israeli children of survivors relative to the Israeli control subjects. A multiple linear regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between support measures and personality functioning for children of survivors groups. Alienation was found to be significantly related to the least squares solution of the five support systems for the Israeli group and for the combined group of 32 children of survivors. None of the other regression equations attained significance. The results suggested that the Israeli and North American cultures differ in the degree to which they facilitate coping among children or survivors in the areas of aggression and feelings of relatedness to family, friends, and community. The Israeli culture would seem to offer greater support for healthy adaptation in these areas of functioning. The differences between children of survivors and control subjects in both cultures on the Fantasy task indicate that the relaxed, flexible, and creative use of imagination is adversely affected in this population. Fantasy would seem to differ from the other function in that the cultural supports available in Israel do not appear to have the same positive effect on this ability as they do on the ability to use aggression constructively or on the ability to overcome feelings of alienation. These findings have implications for children of survivors, for the third generation, and for other traumatized groups. Further research is needed to further define the nature of the support systems which would be helpful to these groups. Replication studies would be especially helpful, since sample biases in the present study limit the generalizability of the findings.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1980 .K544. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-03, Section: B, page: 1114. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1980.