Does everyone have a name? Psychological distress and quality of life among child holocaust survivors with lost identity

Marianne Amir, Rachel Lev-Wiesel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Knowing one's identity, name, and biological parents is considered essential to personality development and psychological well-being. This study assessed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, subjective quality of life (QoL), psychological distress, and potency in a group of adults who were children during the Holocaust (child Holocaust survivors) and who did not know their true identity. Twenty-three such survivors were compared to 23 child Holocaust survivors who knew their identity. Results showed that survivors with lost identity had lower physical, psychological, and social QoL and higher somatization, depression, and anxiety scores than did survivors with known identity. The findings suggest that the psychological consequences of not knowing one's identity are long-lasting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-869
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. and by the Israel Science Foundation Grant number 777/99-1. We thank Dr. Avi Besser for his invaluable help with all the drafts and data analyses of this paper.

Keywords

  • Child holocaust survivors
  • Lost identity
  • PTSD
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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