Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A qualitative study of Holocaust survivors: Reflections after sixty years
by Holben, Rachel, M.S.W., California State University, Long Beach, 2009, 64; 1466107
Abstract (Summary)

This exploratory study aimed to evaluate the long-term effects that accompany survivorship of a major life trauma. Qualitative methods were used to interview a sample of 8 Holocaust survivors and their testimonies were analyzed to gain insight into the way that individuals cope with trauma over time. Participants were evaluated for mental health symptoms and post-traumatic growth, which is defined as positive change occurring in the wake of a traumatic event (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 1998).

The findings of this research revealed that the majority of participants continue to experience symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder related to their experiences in the Holocaust. Many also harbor feelings of anger and resentment toward the Nazis which impacts their interpersonal relationships in some cases. On a more encouraging note, 75% of the participants in this study indicated that they have experienced some degree of post-traumatic growth as a result of the Holocaust. Additionally, 75% of the participants reported finding a sense of purpose through telling their Holocaust stories to others, indicating that they gained therapeutic benefit from this and also believed that they were preserving the memory of the event and its victims.

The results of this study suggest that the effects of the trauma are often not eliminated by time alone however individuals possess a tremendous capacity to cope with trauma and even find positives within their experiences. Through increasing the fund of information available about the evolution of trauma and the coping process, the quality of treatment provided to trauma survivors can be enhanced.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tan, Philip
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 47/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Clinical psychology
Publication Number: 1466107
ISBN: 9781109163919
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