Zerach, Gadi, Yaniv Kanat-Maymon, Roy Aloni, and Zahava Solomon. “The Role of Fathers’ Psychopathology in the Intergenerational Transmission of Captivity Trauma: A Twenty Three-Year Longitudinal Study.” Journal of Affective Disorders 190 (2016): 84-92.
The aversive impact of combat and parents’ combat-induced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on young children has been examined in a few studies. However, the long-term toll of war captivity on the secondary traumatization (ST) of adult offspring remains unknown. This study aimed to assess the longitudinal associations between former prisoners of war (ex-POWs), PTSD, depressive symptoms and their adult offsprings ST.
A sample of 134 Israeli father-child dyads (80 ex-POWs dyads and a comparison group of 44 veterans’dyads) completed self-report measures. The fathers participated in three waves of measurements following the Yom Kippur War (T1: 1991, T2: 2003, and T3: 2008), while the offspring took part in T4 (2013).
Offspring of ex-POWs with PTSD at T3 reported more ST symptoms than offspring of ex-POWs without PTSD and controls. Ex-POWs’ PTSD hyper-arousal symptom cluster at T3 was positively related to offsprings ST avoidance symptom cluster. Offspring of ex-POWs with chronic and delayed PTSD trajectories reported more ST symptoms than offspring of ex-POWS and controls with resilient trajectories. Ex-POWs’ PTSD and depression symptoms at T1, T2 and T3 mediated the link between war captivity (groups) and offsprings ST in T4.
The use of self-report measures that did not cover the entire span of 40 years since the war, might may bias the results.
The intergenerational transmission of captivity related trauma following the Yom Kippur War was exemplified. ST symptoms among ex-POWs’ adult offspring are closely related to their father’ PTSD and related depressive symptom comorbidity.