Gender differences in posttraumatic stress symptoms among former prisoners of wars’ adult offspring

Gadi Zerach, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: The lifetime risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and PTSD symptoms (PTSS) among primary and secondary female victims is known to be higher than for male. This study assessed gender differences in PTSS among former prisoners of war’s (ex-POWs) adult offspring and the associations with their fathers’ and mothers’ PTSS and the parental bonding with them. Design: A correlative study. Methods: A sample of 79 Israeli father–mother-offspring ex-POW triads from the 1973 Yom Kippur War completed self-report measures. Fathers were assessed in 2008, mothers were assessed in 2011 and their adult offspring took part in 2014. Results: Sons of ex-POWs reported higher levels of PTSS as compared to daughters of ex-POWs. However, fathers’ PTSS was positively related to daughters’ PTSS, but not significantly related to sons’ PTSS. Daughters’ PTSS were also associated with both parents’ lower care and higher overprotection, while sons’ PTSS were associated only with fathers’ lower care and higher overprotection. Conclusions: Among adult offspring of ex-POWs, sons are at greater risk for psychological distress in the form of PTSS. Nevertheless, the intergenerational transmission of captivity-related PTSS from both fathers and spouses to their offspring is more prominent among daughters of ex-POWs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Captivity
  • PTSD
  • gender
  • secondary traumatization
  • triad


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