A Relational Model for the Intergenerational Transmission of Captivity Trauma: A 23-Year Longitudinal Study

Gadi Zerach, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: The aversive, long-term toll of war captivity and fathers’ combat-induced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on adult offspring’s secondary traumatization (ST) has been recently exemplified. However, the study of potential mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of trauma to offspring is still lacking. This prospective study aimed to assess the role of fathers’ PTSD symptoms (PTSS), paternal parenting, and adult offspring’s attachment insecurities in adult offspring’s PTSS. Method: A sample of 124 Israeli father–child dyads (80 ex-POW dyads and a comparison group of 44 veteran dyads) completed self-report measures. The fathers participated in three waves of measurements following the Yom Kippur War (T1: 1991, T2: 2003, T3: 2008), while the offspring took part in T4 (2013). Results: Offspring of ex-POWs with PTSD at T3 reported more PTSS and higher levels of attachment insecurities than offspring of ex-POWs without PTSD and controls at T4. Fathers’ proximity to the children and sensitivity to the children’s needs were negatively related. Offspring’s attachment insecurities were positively related to offspring’s PTSS. Importantly, serial multiple mediation model results show that war captivity increased the level of the fathers’ PTSD at T2 and T3, which in turn decreased the level of the fathers’ parenting at T3, and thereby increased the level of offspring’s attachment avoidance at T4, which by its own merit was related to higher levels of adult offspring’s PTSS. Conclusions: The mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of captivity-related trauma of veterans’ PTSD and paternal parenting, through offspring’s attachment insecurities and offspring’s PTSS, was exemplified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-316
Number of pages20
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2016

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