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My New Upcoming Publications About COVID-19 and 2G

With your incredibly generous help, my colleague Prof. Amit Shrira from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and I were able to conduct an empirical study looking at how we, 2G, are feeling during these strange and uncertain times that we are living through. I would like to share with you some of the findings which we recently submitted for publication, in our paper entitled “Parental PTSD and Psychological Reactions during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Offspring of Holocaust Survivors“.

In a study in which we focused on 2G from the USA and Canada, we asked you about the experiences of the survivors parents and the degree to which you, as the children of survivors, attributed to each of the parents a variety of symptoms consistent with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We asked you about your own feelings of depression and anxiety, and about symptoms of PTSD. We also asked you about the level of social support you feel you have around you, who these supportive others are, and how often you have contact with them. We asked you how worried you are about contracting COVID-19 and other worries directly related to the pandemic.

We divided our sample into four groups, 2G who had two parents whom they described as having had PTSD, 2G who had one parent with PTSD, 2G whose parents did not have PTSD, and comparison subjects who were Jewish, of Ashkenazi descent, but had no Holocaust survivor parent. Our study found significant differences between the groups, such that all 2G with one or both parents who had PTSD were different and had higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and more PTSD in their own lives, in comparison with the 2G whose parents did not have PTSD and the comparison group. Most interestingly, the 2G whose parents had PTSD felt more lonely during COVID-19 and social distancing than the other groups, despite the fact that they reported the same level of social support available to them. In other words, the accentuated feelings of loneliness were subjectively amplified among 2G whose parents had PTSD.

There were no differences among any of the groups in COVID-19 related worries, which we felt was related to the fact that most of the participants, both 2G and comparison, enjoyed a relatively high level of socio-economic accomplishments and as a result, were relatively safe from exposure to the coronavirus. The higher levels of psychological distress among 2G whose parents had PTSD were not related directly to COVID-19, but rather might manifest more general  fears and concerns about the coalescing economic, social and political crises, globally and especially in the USA which occurred at the same time of the pandemic.

I want to thank all of you who participated in the study. As you know, it is so important to have the perspective of research in addition to clinical and anecdotal information to fully understand our needs as 2G at this time.

In addition, an article I wrote about the series of webinars I have been giving for 2G since March has been accepted for publication and will appear as the top featured article in the fall issue of Trauma Psychology, the newsletter of the trauma division of the American Psychological Association. This article should help make more clinicians aware of the special sensitivities of 2G during this time.

Once these articles have been published, I will post a link to them so that those interested can read the full papers.

           Irit Felsen


  1. Michelle Halle says

    Thank you for the work you do to support us. May you be זוכה to continue your work in good health and enjoy the personal satisfaction that comes along with it.

  2. Eva Klein Szekely says

    Thank you, Irit, for the great work you do and for your generosity sharing it with all of us.

    • Irit Felsen, Ph.D. says

      Dear Eva, I so appreciate your comment! It means so much to me to share it and to hear that it was of value to you!

      Yours warmly,

  3. Congratulations! Thank you for this significant work, Irit. Kol Hakavod! Warmest regards, Jenni

    • Irit Felsen, Ph.D. says

      Thank you so much Jenni for your great feedback! It is such a pleasure and an honor to be working together on the lecture series for 2G. Thank YOU for your amazing work!


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