Aftermath of Genocide: Holocaust Survivors' Dissociation Moderates Offspring Level of Cortisol

Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, Ayala Fridman, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Abraham Sagi-Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examined the effects of the Holocaust on diurnal cortisol secretion in survivors and their adult offspring. Israeli female Holocaust survivors and matched comparisons formed a case-control study design with two generations: 32 Holocaust survivors and 33 comparisons, along with their offspring (total N = 144). Participants self-reported on dissociation and physical health, and their salivary cortisol levels were assessed during the day. Complete cortisol data was available for 58 and 74 first- and second-generation participants, respectively. Holocaust survivors showed higher levels of daily cortisol versus comparisons. Their offspring showed lower cortisol levels only when surviving parents displayed more dissociation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-80
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • cortisol
  • dissociation
  • genocide
  • Holocaust
  • trauma


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