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Journal Article

Mental Health in Offspring of Traumatized Refugees with and without Post-traumatic Stress Disorder


Yassouridis,  Alexander
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Muhtz, C., Wittekind, C., Godemann, K., Von Alm, C., Jelinek, L., Yassouridis, A., et al. (2016). Mental Health in Offspring of Traumatized Refugees with and without Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. STRESS AND HEALTH, 32(4), 367-373. doi:10.1002/smi.2630.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-49A0-3
Intergenerational transmission of psychological trauma and the impact of parental post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on offspring are controversially discussed. We studied 50 offspring (36 women and 14 men, mean age 42.1 years) of refugees who were severely traumatized as children at the end of World War II. From these, 25 of the refugees currently suffered from chronic PTSD, and 25 had no PTSD. Parental PTSD status did not significantly influence mental health [as per the Symptom Checklist (SCL)-90-R] or quality of life (assessed by the 36-item Short-form Health Survey) in their children. In the entire sample, frequency of talking with the mother about the flight correlated with phobic anxiety (r = 0.67, p = 0.03). Interestingly, the stated burden of having a parent with a history of flight significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with almost all subscales of the SCL-90-R. These results in a non-clinical sample do not support a specific role of parental PTSD in intergenerational trauma transmission. Our other remarkable, but preliminary, results need to be studied in larger samples using more subtle interaction or schema analyses. Copyright (C) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.