Alternative Title

Emotional impact of disclosure status among first, second, and third generation Holocaust survivors

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Holocaust survivors-Psychology, Children of Holocaust survivors-Psychology, Grandchildren of Holocaust survivors-Psychology, Intergenerational communication-Psychological aspects, Self-disclosure-Psychological aspects, Jewish Holocause (1939-1945)-Personal narratives, Well-being, Holocaust survivors, Intergenerational trauma, Holocaust narratives, Disclosure, Disclosure experience, Emotion well being, Narrative theory, Audience


The current study explored the possible relationship between disclosure of Holocaust related narratives and emotional well-being among Holocaust survivors as well as children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. This study further considered how methods of disclosure and number of disclosure methods used related to emotional wellbeing and overall benefit or harm of the disclosure experience among first, second, and third generation Holocaust survivors. A sample of 147 Holocaust survivors and descendants completed an online survey consisting of Likert scales to rate the perceived benefit or harm of their disclosure experience and opportunities to offer narrative describing their disclosure experience. Three groups formed based on participant survivor status: first generation (n=29), second generation (n=74), and third generation (n=11). Results showed the vast majority of participants disclosed their Holocaust related narratives; however, disclosure did not relate to overall emotional wellbeing. Approximately 86% rated their disclosure experience at least beneficial; the more methods of disclosure used related to participants’ rating disclosure as more beneficial. This study also discovered the both/ and influence of an audience (i.e. telling family/friends, speaking at a community event, etc.) to the disclosed narrative – a receptive audience related to great benefit while a skeptical audience related to great harm. While preliminary in nature, these findings reflect the importance of considering the environment that will hear the trauma narrative before attempting disclosure. This research indicates the need for further exploration of factors predicting the benefits of disclosure.




v, 92 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 78-80)

Included in

Social Work Commons