The Relation between Loneliness or Positive Solitude with Posttraumatic Symptoms of Holocaust Survivors

Yuval Palgi, Yonat Hayun, Lee Greenblatt-Kimron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined how reported early life experiences of isolation encountered by Holocaust survivors affect the relationship between their current feeling of loneliness/feeling of positive solitude and their level of posttraumatic stress symptoms. To this end, using a convenient sampling methodology 81 community-dwelling older adults reported the number of years they had been alone or the level of loneliness they had experienced during the Holocaust, their level of current loneliness/positive solitude, and their level of posttraumatic stress symptoms. More years spent alone during the Holocaust were related to a stronger positive association between loneliness and posttraumatic stress symptoms; feeling lonelier was also related to a stronger negative association between positive solitude and posttraumatic stress symptoms. The findings emphasize that survivors who reported more years of isolation during the Holocaust are prone to be more sensitive when associated with current loneliness to the deleterious results of posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, survivors who felt lonelier during the Holocaust demonstrate lower levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms when reporting on a higher level of positive solitude. Intervention focus on improving positive solitude capability may become beneficial for those suffering from loneliness and posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalGeroPsych: The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Hogrefe Publishing GmbH. All rights reserved.


  • Holocaust survivors
  • experiences of isolation
  • loneliness
  • positive solitude
  • posttraumatic stress symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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