Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Depression among Holocaust survivors : a meta-analytic review

By Janine Karen Lurie-Beck, Kathryn Gow and Poppy Liossis


The publication of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) introduced the notion that a life-threatening illness can be a stressor and catalyst for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then a solid body of research has been established investigating the post-diagnosis experience of cancer. These studies have identified a number of short and long-term life changes resulting from a diagnosis of cancer and associated treatments. In this chapter, we discuss the psychosocial response to the cancer experience and the potential for cancer-related distress. Cancer can represent a life-threatening diagnosis that may be associated with aggressive treatments and result in physical and psychological changes. The potential for future trauma through the lasting effects of the disease and treatment, and the possibility of recurrence, can be a source of continued psychological distress. In addition to the documented adverse repercussions of cancer, we also outline the recent shift that has occurred in the psycho-oncology literature regarding positive life change or posttraumatic growth that is commonly reported after a diagnosis of cancer. Adopting a salutogenic framework acknowledges that the cancer experience is a dynamic psychosocial process with both negative and positive repercussions. Next, we describe the situational and individual factors that are associated with posttraumatic growth and the types of positive life change that are prevalent in this context. Finally, we discuss the implications of this research in a therapeutic context and the directions of future posttraumatic growth research with cancer survivors. This chapter will present both quantitative and qualitative research that indicates the potential for personal growth from adversity rather than just mere survival and return to pre-diagnosis functioning. It is important to emphasise however, that the presence of growth and prevalence of resilience does not negate the extremely distressing nature of a cancer diagnosis for the patient and their families and the suffering that can accompany treatment regimes. Indeed, it will be explained that for growth to occur, the experience must be one that quite literally shatters previously held schemas in order to act as a catalyst for change

Topics: 170000 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES, 170100 PSYCHOLOGY, Holocaust Survivors, Depression, Meta-analysis, Gender and depression, Age and depression
Publisher: NOVA Science Publishers, Inc
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.