Impact of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder of World War II on the Next Generation

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Abstract

A clinical survey examined the experiences of children who grew up in families in which a father suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of combat experience in World War II. Although the data did not permit rigorous epidemiological or definitive etiological conclusions, the survey did reveal that some offspring of World War II combat veterans demonstrate long-term, transgenerational effects from their father's combat trauma. Although the children's conscious knowledge of the veteran's combat experience and the impact of the veteran on the affective life of his family and on his children varied among the five families studied, the continuing legacy of wartime trauma was apparent in the adult lives of many of these offspring.

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