Increased Empathy and Helping Behavior Toward the Mother in Daughters of Holocaust Survivors

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Abstract

The present study investigated whether prosocial propensities displayed by adult daughters of elderly Holocaust child survivors in a nonclinical/nonselect sample were more pronounced than those in a closely matched comparison group with no Holocaust background. The sample consisted of 78 participants: 42 adult daughters of Holocaust child survivors and 36 women with no Holocaust background in the family. Adult daughters of Holocaust child survivors exhibited elevated physical/medical care and pragmatic help compared with participants without Holocaust background. A Holocaust within-group analysis revealed that higher level of factual knowledge about the mother's Holocaust experiences was associated with elevated internal and external empathic response toward the mother. Higher level of factual knowledge of the mother's Holocaust experiences was also exhibited by participants who reported a greater amount of time spent providing pragmatic support to the mother, compared with participants who reported that they did not provide pragmatic support to their mother. The range of the effect size for these outcomes is 0.10 to 0.76. Our findings are consistent with the notion of posttraumatic growth among descendants of Holocaust survivors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTraumatology
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Empathy
  • Helping behavior
  • Holocaust
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Posttraumatic growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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