Long term effects of childhood trauma: A study of child survivors of the Holocaust using narrative coding analysis

Gila Sandler, Pace University

Abstract

This study focuses on trauma related to state sponsored genocide. Specifically it examines the long-term effects of trauma endured by child survivors of the Holocaust using a narrative coding analysis of transcribed interviews (N = 100) conducted by the International Study of Organized Persecution of Children (ISOPC) of Child Development Research (CDR). The relevant literature is reviewed, including qualitative and quantitative studies done to date regarding child survivors. A rationale for the methodological approach in this study is presented, explaining the aim at combining the strengths of the quantitative and qualitative processes, by analyzing rich personal narratives using a method that allows for statistical analysis. ^ Age at the time of trauma and the nature of the postwar situation are explored as they relate to anxiety, depression and quality of life in adulthood. Measures used include the Gottschalk-Gleser Scales Psychiatric Content Analysis Diagnostic (PCAD) software (Gottschalk & Bechtel, 2002) items from the original ISOPC of CDR Code Book (Child Development Research, 1997) as well as Code Book items revised by the current researcher. Results revealed no significant associations between age-at-onset or postwar variables and broad measures of mental health in adulthood. However, poor parental competence in the postwar period was associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety related to loss of and abandonment by loved ones experienced in adulthood. Additionally, poor maternal adjustment was associated with higher levels of depression in adulthood. Age was related to the "type" of anxiety experienced. Those who were younger at the onset of persecution were found to have higher levels of anxiety related to shame and older children were found to have higher levels of anxiety related to fear of injury and harm. ^ Methodological issues are considered in light of the results. Central findings of this study demonstrate the critical importance of postwar parental competence and maternal adjustment on the child's functioning later in life. This emphasizes the need for early intervention by mental health providers in the aftermath of massive trauma, with the child, and his/her parents. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Gila Sandler, "Long term effects of childhood trauma: A study of child survivors of the Holocaust using narrative coding analysis" (January 1, 2010). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3381439.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3381439

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